The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit has announced 54 new COVID-19 cases today. Of the new cases announced Wednesday, 20 are from close contact with another confirmed case, seven are considered community spread, and 27 are under investigation. There are now 329 active cases in the community, bringing the total number of cases to 13,891, 14 confirmed cases in the hospital with four people in the ICU, 13,139 cases listed as resolved, 94,894 doses of vaccine have been administered in our region, and 403 deaths. Across the province today there were 2,333 cases of COVID-19. Yesterday there were 2,336 cases, and on Monday there were 2,094 cases.
Dr. Ahmed, our local medical officer of health, has said that our region has done a decent job in containing the spread of the virus for the most part, but said that to avoid a third wave hitting our community, we must continue to follow all public health safety measures. You can read the full article here.
The President and CEO of Hotel-Dieu Grace Healthcare says she is worried about capacity levels in ICUs across Ontario. She points out that the third wave is deadly in ways we haven’t seen yet and the patients coming into hospitals are also younger than what we saw during the second wave because the new variants of COVID-19 are much more transmissible. You can read more here.
The Premier has said he is extremely concerned about the about the rising daily case counts and ICU admissions and has said that he will make an announcement tomorrow about possible further restrictions coming before the Easter long weekend.
FIGHTING FOR YOU IN THE LEGISLATURE
My colleague, MPP Lisa Gretzky, asked the provincial government today to explain why they are continuing to breach the rights of thousands of congregate care residents by denying them access to their designated caregivers, and urged the government to pass her bill, More Than Just A Visitor Act. Last week, the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario released a decision that shows how the provincial government’s inaction to ensure congregate care residents’ meaningful access to their essential caregivers, discriminated against a child with disabilities. Thousands of congregate care residents across the province have been denied meaningful access, or in many cases any access, to their designated care givers for over a year now. Many have been denied going outdoors for fresh air and sunshine. The government has had a legislative solution, with the More Than Just a Visitor Act, in front of them since September 2020, one that they could pass today, to stop the human rights violations they continue to perpetuate. We will continue to advocate for meaningful, essential caregiver access.
The provincial government refused to set things right with personal support workers (PSWs) who are health care heroes and voted down a bill to raise the wage floor for all PSWs today. PSWs, and the families they take care of, deserve so much more. This bill was an opportunity to show Ontario’s PSWs that we care about them as much as they care about our loved ones. Instead, the provincial government voted down a bill that would have made a real difference in the lives of our PSWs. By raising their wage floor, PSWs could have had their work recognized with better pay to help them pay the bills.
GOVERNMENT FUNDING ANNOUNCEMENTS
The Ontario government is providing parents with $980 million in direct support as part of the Ontario COVID-19 Child Benefit. The government is automatically providing this round of payments to parents who received Support for Learners payments, and they can expect money to begin flowing on April 26, 2021. Parents who did not apply for or receive the Support for Learners program can apply for the new funding starting May 3 with a deadline of May 17. Parents will receive $400 for each child aged 0 to Grade 12 and $500 for children and youth 21 years old and younger with special needs. You can find more information here.
Applications are now being accepted for the Community Building Fund through the Ontario Trillium Foundation. The fund will support non-profits and Indigenous communities in the sectors of arts and culture, heritage, tourism, sport, and recreation to operate facilities and/or deliver experiences or programs for the public. The application deadline is April 28 at 5pm. You can find more information here.
A new case of COVID-19 has been reported at Coronation Public School after a student tested positive. According to the Greater Essex County District School Board, all close contacts have been notified and are following the direction of the local health unit.
Pfizer has announced that their vaccine is 100 per cent effective in kids between the ages 12 and 15. This announcement comes after a phase three trial, and the company has said they hope that children in that age group will be able to get vaccinated before the new school year starts. 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.