The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit reported 10 new cases of COVID-19 today along with one additional death in a long-term care home. Of the new cases announced today, three are related to an outbreak, four are from close contact with another confirmed case, and three are considered community spread. Our region now has 262 active cases, bringing our total number of cases to 13,047, 47 cases in the hospital, 12,397 cases listed as resolved, and 388 deaths. For the first time in months, the local health unit is reporting zero outbreaks of COVID-19 in long-term care and retirement homes in our region. Across the province today there were 958 new cases of COVID-19 today. On Tuesday there were 966 cases, and on Monday there were 1,023 cases.
The local health unit has declared an outbreak at Monseigneur Jean Noel Catholic Elementary School. The Catholic school board said there are four active cases, and three classes are in isolation. Parents are being reminded to monitor their kids for symptoms each morning before they leave for school and to keep them home if they are sick.
The provincial government has announced that the AstraZeneca vaccine will be used for people between the ages of 60 and 64 and will rely on alternative sites to provide the vaccine, such as pharmacies and offices of health care practitioners to deliver the doses before they expire in April. Ontario is expected to receive about 190,000 doses, with more than half of those expected to expire on April 2. You can read more here.
Windsor Regional Hospital and the Southwest Ontario Aboriginal Health Access Centre (SOAHAC) are encouraging members of our local Indigenous community to get vaccinated to help protect themselves and their loved ones. Currently any Indigenous person aged 40 and above can receive the vaccine. For more information and to book a vaccine, please visit the SOAHAC website here.
Our caucus continues to call on the provincial government to include disproportionately-impacted neighbourhoods in the vaccine priority list, as well as adults with serious underlying health conditions. Ontario’s own science table recommended including the highest-risk postal codes in the priority group, and the National Advisory Committee on Immunizations (NACI) recommends including people with high-risk conditions in the priority group with the oldest seniors. We have proposed creating an Equity Strategy for getting resources, including vaccines, into the hardest-hit communities but the provincial government has voted down this idea twice.
COVID-19 tests for international travel are no longer available at Windsor Regional Hospital’s two assessment centres. While travel outside of the country is strongly discouraged, there are three local options available for obtaining a COVID-19 test prior to travel: Medical Labs of Windsor on Malden Rd in Lasalle, Audacia Bioscience inside the IDA Pharmacy on Sandwich St in the west end, and Windsor Travel Health on Tecumseh Rd East in the east end. You can find more information here.
The Prime Minister has announced that the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) and the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy and Lockdown Support programs will be extended at their current funding levels until June 2021.
Provincial health and safety inspection officers will be coming to our region on Saturday to check that businesses are compliant with public health measures related to COVID-19. Officers will be conducting “two-stage inspections” that focus on small businesses and provide COVID-19 safety education and guidance for small businesses in the first round, followed by enforcement during inspections in the second round. You can read more here.
Windsor City Council has approved waiving fees again this year for extended outdoor patios for bars and restaurants. The extended patio season is scheduled to start April 1 and run until November 15. 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 and practicing physical distancing of 2 metres apart at all times when around others who live outside your household, and washing your hands frequently.