The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit is reporting 124 new high risk cases of COVID-19 today. Due to the changes in eligibility for testing and limited testing capacity, the rise of Omicron cases, and the shifted focus of case, contact, and outbreak management to high-risk settings, these case counts are an underestimate of the true numbers of individuals who have COVID-19 within Windsor-Essex County. The health unit defines high-risk cases as those coming from individuals who are eligible for PCR testing in accordance with Ontario's current testing guidance. Yesterday there were 34 cases, and on Monday there were 74 cases.
There are now 328 active high risk cases in the area, up from 269 cases yesterday. With 41 people in the hospital for COVID, including five cases in the ICU. There are currently seven community outbreaks, three hospital outbreaks, and six outbreaks in long-term care/retirement homes. Locally, 86.3 per cent of individuals five and over have received at least one dose of the vaccine, 83.4 per cent have received two doses, and 50.8 per cent of residents over 12 have received their booster.
Across the province today there were 2,814 cases of COVID-19, but health officials warn this number is an underestimate due to testing restrictions. Yesterday there were 1,610 cases, and on Monday there were 1,741 cases. Since the pandemic began, there have been 1,159,470 cases of COVID-19 in Ontario, and there are currently 778 people in hospital, with 165 cases in ICUs.
ADVOCATING FOR AFFORDABLE HOUSING
The provincial government introduced a new housing bill today that contains measures they say will streamline subdivision approval processes, site plan approval process, and approvals for modular multi-unit residential buildings. This bill does nothing to make homes more affordable. It doesn’t build starter homes or ‘missing middle’ homes like duplexes and townhomes. The bill does nothing to take on speculation. It doesn’t help renters or buyers. It doesn’t even do the bare minimum its own task force recommended. Government after government have allowed the price of homes in Ontario to skyrocket. My caucus colleagues and I are calling for a housing plan that takes on speculators, helps renters and brings back rent control, increases the supply of homes people can actually afford, helps first-time buyers get into the market, and builds nearly 100,000 affordable and supportive housing units.
COVID-19 SIXTH WAVE
Ontario’s COVID-19 Science Advisory Table has said that we are now in the middle of a sixth wave of the pandemic, driven by a relaxing of COVID-19 restrictions across the province. The Science Advisory Table says that based on viral levels measured in wastewater, the province is probably seeing between 30,000 and 35,000 new infections per day, but this number is nearly impossible to measure due to the restrictions on testing. You can read more here.
NEW TOOL FOR X-RAY APPOINTMENTS IN ESSEX
Erie Shores HealthCare Diagnostic Imaging Department has launched a new tool to allow Essex County residents to schedule their own x-ray appointments. Patients are required to have a paper requisition form from a physician or nurse practitioner. For more information, or to book an appointment, please visit their website here.
RAPID ANTIGEN TESTS
Free rapid antigen tests continue to be available at select locations each week. Please remember to store your test kits out of the reach of children, as there have been reports of poisoning after accidental consumption. You can find participating grocery stores and pharmacies here.
The mass vaccination site in the former Sears store at Devonshire Mall is scheduled to close on Saturday April 2. Walk-ins for the COVID-19 vaccination will be accepted until 3:30pm that day. The mass vaccination site is open for walk-ins on Tuesday from 11:30am to 6:00pm and Wednesday to Saturday from 9am to 3:30pm. Students in grades 7-12 that have not started or finished their vaccination series for Hepatitis B, Human Papillomavirus (HPV), and/or Meningococcal Disease and want to receive the vaccine at Devonshire Mall, must book at appointment before April 1, pending availability. For more information on COVID-19 vaccines, please visit www.wevax.ca.