The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit is reporting 16 new COVID-19 cases today. Of the new cases announced, 10 are from close contact with another confirmed case, five are considered community spread, and one is under investigation. There are now 226 active cases in the region, bringing the total number to 13,683 cases, 17 confirmed cases are in the hospital, with six in the ICU, 13,056 cases have been listed as resolved, 77,670 doses of the vaccine have been administered, and there have been 401 deaths. Across the province today there were 2,169 cases. Yesterday there were 2,380 cases and on Wednesday there were 1,571 cases.
The local health unit announced today that seniors 70 years of age and older are now eligible to receive their COVID-19 vaccine at one of the mass vaccination sites in Windsor-Essex. The local health unit has said that 24 per cent of residents aged 70 to 74 have been immunized at one of the local pharmacies with the AstraZeneca vaccine as part of the ongoing pilot project in our region. Eligible residents can book their appointment by calling 226-773-2200 or at www.WEVax.ca
The fifth mass vaccination site in Windsor-Essex will open next Wednesday in Amherstburg at the Libro Credit Union Centre. It will be open from 9am to 4pm.
VARIANTS OF CONCERN
Dr. Tam, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, has said that COVID-19 case counts are expected to rise in the coming weeks as variants of the virus continue to take hold, and Canada is projected to hit 1 million total cases next week. Although vaccines are rolling out, Dr. Tam says the rollout can’t keep pace with the spread of the virus we’re seeing. You can read more here.
In Ontario, a new briefing note from the science table members show that variants of the virus double the risk of someone being admitted to the ICU, and increase the risk of death by roughly 60 per cent. You can read more here.
PROVINCIAL REOPENING FRAMEWORK
Windsor-Essex will remain in the Red-Control level of the province’s COVID-19 reopening framework for another week. The province also adjusted the rules for outdoor weddings, funerals and religious services across all levels, and capacity limits are now based on the number of individuals that can maintain two metres apart. These changes will take effect on Monday March 29, and only apply to services, and not receptions or social gatherings. Additionally, the rules in the Grey-Lockdown category have changed to allow for some fitness and personal services, such as hair and nail salons, to resume operations. You can read the full provincial release here.
EXPOSURES IN THE COMMUNITY
The local health unit has identified another potential COVID-19 exposure point and has asked anyone who has visited a location identified as an exposure point to monitor themselves for symptoms for 14 days from the date of possible exposure. You can find all the exposure points, along with the dates and times of exposure on the health unit’s website, here.
Mario Spagnuolo, the President of the Greater Essex Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario has echoed our caucus’ concerns that the nearly $1 Billion that is being trimmed from education in the budget that was announced this week. The cuts will take Ontario back to 2019 spending levels, when the government was cutting 10,000 teachers and education workers and hiking class sizes. You can read the article here.
St. Clair College has said that 12 staff members are self-isolating after one employee tested positive for COVID-19. The college has asked all employees in the affected department to self-isolate and work from home until the investigation is complete.
IN THE LEGISLATURE
Our caucus has called for March 30 to be declared an annual, provincial day of mourning for lives lost to COVID-19 in the province’s long-term care homes. Nearly 4,000 seniors have died of COVID-19, and thousands more suffered illness and neglect as a result of the conditions inside nursing homes. We have also called on the Premier to make a formal apology to the survivors, and families of residents in long-term care homes.
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.