The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit has announced 37 new cases of COVID-19 today. Of the new cases announced, one case is related to outbreaks, 10 are from close contact with another confirmed case, nine are considered to be community spread, and 17 are under investigation. There are now 293 active cases in our community, bringing the total number of to 13,809 cases in our region, 16 confirmed cases in the hospital, 13,114 cases listed as resolved, 84,934 doses of the vaccine have been administered, and 402 deaths. Across the province today there were 2,094 cases reported. On Sunday there were 2,448 cases and on Saturday there were 2,453 cases. Variants of the COVID-19 virus now account for about 61 per cent of all new infections across the province.
Today in the Legislature, I gave my Member’s Statement to applaud the Windsor Symphony Orchestra and Associate Conductor Daniel Wiley who have developed a new educational program. While other symphonies had to lay off their musicians and close their doors during COVID, Windsor seized an opportunity to introduce young people to the magical sounds of a symphony orchestra. The WSO’s Associate Conductor, Daniel Wiley developed an education program. Ten digital education programs were developed for grades K to six – and another 12 hours of content were created for the senior grades from 7 to 12. These concerts all followed established board curriculum. Nearly 70,000 students were educated and entertained, from Windsor to Rainy River and Peterborough. Across 10 school boards and 150 schools, students who otherwise may never have seen an orchestra had the opportunity to engage with classical music in a meaningful way. COVID placed many restrictions on all of us but the Windsor Symphony found a way to enrich the lives of these students and indeed their teachers with this innovative presentation.
Theresa Marentette, the CEO of the local health unit, has said that there are still slots available this week to seniors 70 years and older and has encouraged seniors to book a time slot. The health unit says it has been slower than expected.
Amherstburg’s vaccination clinic at the Libro Centre will open for residents aged 70 years old and up on Wednesday at 9am. This clinic, like the other four mass vaccination sites in Windsor-Essex are by appointment only. More information on clinics and how to make an appointment can be found at www.wevax.ca
The Minister of Education is calling on the federal government to plan ahead to procure vaccine shots for children and youth as soon as they are approved by Health Canada. A number of clinical trials are underway now. Moderna has announced that they want to recruit Canadian children aged six months to 12 years old for upcoming trials, and Johnson & Johnson is set to run trials for its vaccine with 12 to 17 year-olds. You can read more here.
The National Advisory Committee on Immunizations (NACI) has recommended suspending use of the AstraZeneca vaccine for people under the age of 55 due to safety concerns. The expected change comes following reports of rare blood clots in some immunized patients, notably younger women. 300,000 AstraZeneca shots have been distributed in Canada, with no reports of blood clots. You can read more here.
COVID-19 EXPOSURE POINTS
The local health unit has updated their possible COVID-19 exposure point list. You can find more information, including the dates and times of exposure on their website, here.
The University of Windsor’s Alumni Hall residence is under a modified quarantine after COVDI-19 was found in wastewater tests. Officials from the local health unit are providing on-site testing for residents to determine if an outbreak is present in the building. You can read more here.
Today the Premier said that the rising COVID-19 case numbers might bring the status of the postponed March Break into question, though the Minister of Education said that the April break will still go ahead as scheduled.. The March Break was postponed until April back in February. The Ministry of Education is expected to provide further guidance on this later this week. You can read more here.
ADVOCATING FOR FAIR WAGES FOR OUR FRONT LINE PSWs
Today 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. The Premier and his Cabinet voted against the motion. The so-called “iron ring” around long-term care homes was just empty words. It’s shameful that this government said no to taking time as a province to mourn with families and remember the people we lost to COVID-19 in long-term care homes.
Tomorrow in the Legislature, our caucus’ bill to raise the wage floor for all personal support workers (PSWs) will be debated and voted on. Personal support workers have taken care of the people who raised us, the people we love. They should be able to support their own families and not have to worry about putting food on the table. With this bill, the provincial government can raise the wage floor for all PSWs, regardless of their sector, and make sure they aren’t paying out of their own pockets to travel from client to client. The bill also calls on the Minister of Long-Term Care to develop programs to provide training, education and professional development for all support workers and long-term care staff that provide care.
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.