The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit is reporting 88 new high risk cases in Windsor-Essex 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 88 cases, and on Tuesday there were 48 cases.
There are now 270 active high risk cases in the area, with 47 confirmed cases in the hospital, and five in the ICU. There are currently two workplace outbreaks, six community outbreaks, two hospital outbreaks, and eight outbreaks in long-term care/retirement homes. Locally, 86.1 per cent of individuals five and over have received at least one dose of the vaccine, 82.8 per cent have received two doses, and 53.5 per cent of residents 18 and over have received their booster.
Today, Toronto reported 324 cases of COVID-19, Peel reported 120 cases, and Ottawa reported 136 cases. Across the province there were 2,262 cases, but health officials warn this number is an underestimate due to testing restrictions. Yesterday, there were 1,959 cases, and on Tuesday there were 1,176 cases. Since the pandemic began, there have been a total of 1,107,408 cases reported in Ontario, and there are currently 834 people in the hospital with COVID-19, with 267 of those cases are in the ICU.
ADVOCATING FOR WORKERS IN THE GAMING SECTOR
Today during question period, I asked the government to provide assurances that there wouldn’t be any lost jobs or revenue for the province when the new iGaming model is launched on April 4, 2022. In a good year, we have about 10,000 people working in Ontario’s gaming sector. Land-based casinos return 55 per cent of their net gaming profits to the Ontario treasury – that’s more than $2 billion a year. But a recent study showed the new iGaming market would lead to fewer people working, and a huge loss to the net revenue from gaming. COVID-19 has left half of the casino workers in Niagara Falls out of work, at Woodbine there are still 500 casino workers laid off, and we have a thousand still unemployed in Windsor. There were also big promises made to students at Humber College that the expansion at Woodbine would bring future employment. Internet gaming threatens these students and all of our unemployed casino workers. As iGaming is brought forward, I am advocating to make sure gaming workers are protected, that laid off workers can return to work, and that the province does not miss out on revenues from gaming, which help fund provincial services like education and health care.
HOSPITAL HIRES NEW NURSES
Windsor Regional Hospital announced they have spent $575,000 on hiring incentives to attract new registered nurses during the pandemic. This money has allowed for the hospital to hire 24 new registered nurses between May and January. You can read more here.
My caucus colleagues and I have been advocating for the government to implement a hiring and retention strategy for nurses, throughout the pandemic. We continue to hear about the burnout that nurses face and the need for more nurses to be hired to address the needs of patients. We have called for the government to launch an aggressive recruitment and retention strategy for nurses, and to repeal Bill 124 which caps wages for nurses. We need a plan that trains new health care workers and gives them full time jobs and fair wages. We need a plan that funds hospitals, long-term care homes, and other health care settings to have enough staff on each shift to ensure that people get the best care, and staff are protected from burnout.
NEW MOBILE MEDICAL UNIT FOR WINDSOR-ESSEX
The Community Support Centre of Windsor-Essex has a new multi-use mobile medical unit which will be used to bring medical services and other programs to the community, including addressing food security and winter coat distribution. You can read more here.
RAPID ANTIGEN TESTS
The provincial government announced that 5.5 million rapid antigen tests will be available across the province 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.
First, second, and third doses of the COVID-19 vaccine are available at one of the three mass vaccination sites, located in the former Sears store at Devonshire Mall, at Hotel-Dieu Grace HealthCare, and at the Grovedale House Community Hall in Kingsville. All mass vaccination sites are now accepting walk-ins. Moreover, the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is now available for individuals aged 30 years and older at any vaccination site. Grovedale House is open from 9am to 3:45pm Tuesday to Saturday for pre-booked or walk-in appointments. Hotel Dieu's clinic will be available from 2:30pm to 6:30pm on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday. To book an appointment, please visit www.wevax.ca.
Pop-up vaccination clinics will be available at the following locations this week:
- Friday March 4 – Windsor International Aquatic Training Centre – 401 Pitt St W, Windsor – 9:00am to 4:00pm
- Friday March 4 – Mackenzie Hall – 3277 Sandwich St, Windsor – 9:00am to 4:00pm
- Friday March 4 – Forest Glade Arena – 3205 Forest Glade Dr, Windsor – 9:00am to 4:00pm
Please continue to stay safe and follow public health guidelines.