The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit is reporting 11 new COVID-19 cases in our region today. Of the new cases, one is related to an outbreak, four are from close contact with another confirmed case, two are considered community spread, and four are under investigation. There are now 282 active cases in the community, bringing the total number to 13,606, 25 confirmed cases in the hospital with five in the ICU, 12,923 cases listed as resolved, and 401 deaths. Across the province today there were 1,699 new cases reported. On Sunday there were 1,791 cases and on Saturday there were 1,829 cases.
The local health unit is opening up more appointments based on the expansion of eligibility from the province for residents 75 years of age and older looking to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Beginning tomorrow, residents 75 years of age and older can register for the Pfizer vaccine at one of the four vaccination sites across the region. The health unit’s vaccination web portal is scheduled to go live tomorrow morning for those looking to register. More information is available here. As of today, the AstraZeneca vaccine is available to residents 60 years of age and older at pharmacies across Windsor-Essex and appointments can be made by calling pharmacies directly.
Transit Windsor announced they will be offering free round-trip rides to individuals who are getting the COVID-19 vaccine at one of the Windsor locations: WFCU Centre, St. Clair College Sportsplex or Windsor Hall. Individuals will be required to inform transit staff if they are heading to or returning from a vaccination site to receive this complimentary service. More information is available here.
A new U.S. study on the AstraZeneca vaccine shows a 79 per cent efficacy rate at preventing symptomatic COVID-19 and was 100 per cent effective in stopping severe disease and hospitalization. The pharmaceutical company also said their experts identified no safety concerns related to the vaccine, including a rare blood clot that had been identified in Europe. Canada will be receiving 1.5 million additional AstraZeneca vaccines from the U.S. as part of a loan agreement. You can read more here.
The Greater Essex County District School Board has reported a positive COVID-19 case from a staff member at Northwood Public School, two students at Herman Secondary Academy, and isolated student cases at Begley Public School and Mason Centre Public Alternative Secondary School. All close contacts have been notified and are following the direction of the local health unit. The public school board’s website has updated information about all outbreaks here.
The local health unit has declared a COVID-19 outbreak at the Welcome Centre Shelter for Women and Families after one resident tested positive. The centre is doing onsite rapid testing, following all public health safety measures, and no additional cases have been reported.
My colleague, MPP Lisa Gretzky, has called on the provincial government to provide guidance to long-term care homes, residents, and their families on when and how they can safely see each other again. The majority of long-term care residents have received their COVID-19 vaccine, but have no information on when they can have their designated caregivers, their loved ones, back into their homes or go outdoors. Residents and their families need to see a plan now for reuniting them. Meaningful access can happen in a safe manner, with proper PPE, testing and infection prevention and control measures in place.
Today in the Legislature, the provincial government voted down a motion from our caucus to give rent help to tenants struggling as a result of the pandemic. The motion would have ensured no one is evicted because they lost income during COVID-19 and cannot pay their rent. Throwing people out onto the streets or into shelters during a pandemic is not only callous – it’s dangerous.
The provincial government has announced $1.2 billion in funding for hospitals across the province to deal with financial hardships associated with COVID-19. There is no information yet how much our region may receive. You can read more here.
Please stay diligent and continue following public health advice by staying at home, only going out for essential trips, wearing a mask, practicing physical distancing of 2 metres apart at all times when around others who live outside your household, and washing your hands frequently.