The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit reported 207 new high risk cases since Friday with 58 of those cases reported today, along with the loss of a member of our community. 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.
There are now 256 active high risk cases in the area, with 29 confirmed cases in the hospital, and four in the ICU. There is currently one workplace outbreak, six community outbreaks, two hospital outbreaks, and eight outbreaks in long-term care/retirement homes. Locally, 86.2 per cent of individuals five and over have received one dose of the vaccine, 82.8 per cent have received two doses, and 53.7 per cent of residents 18 and over have received their booster.
Today, Toronto reported 187 cases, Peel reported 57 cases and Hamilton reported 50 cases. Across the province today there were 1,074 cases, but health officials warn those numbers are an underestimate due to testing restrictions. Yesterday there were 1,787 cases, and on Saturday there were 1,930 cases. Across the province there have been 1,114,284 cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began, and there are currently 693 cases in the hospital, with 249 in the ICU.
ADVOCATING FOR HOME-CARE
Today, my caucus colleagues and I again called on the provincial government to fix Ontario’s broken home care system so seniors and people with disabilities can live at home longer. This plan includes staffing up, and transitioning the entire system to public, and not-for-profit. We should be providing care that protects and improves our quality of life, rather than taking it away. Our parents and grandparents should be able to stay at home for years longer, where they’re comfortable and loved. We are calling for a record $1 billion investment in home care, raises and full-time jobs for PSWs, and shifting the entire system into public and not-for-profit hands.
The Canada-Ontario Housing Benefit will be accepting applications for payment to low income housing this year. The City of Windsor estimates the program will help approximately 250 to 260 households on the social housing wait list. Households should make sure they have an application to be on the centralized wait list, and if they are already on the list, make sure they have selected the Canada-Ontario Housing Benefit on their application. More information how to apply can be found here.
My caucus colleagues and I have been calling for a market-driven plan to increase to the supply of housing, and lend first-time home buyers up to 10 per cent of the price of their new home as down payment support. We are calling for policies to stabilize rent prices, including bringing back rent control for all rental units that would prevent landlords from significantly increasing rents in between tenants and scrap vacancy decontrol, which would stop landlords from evicting tenants with the aim of raising rent. We are also calling for 69,000 new affordable homes to be built in the next 10 years, and to commit an estimated $2.6 billion to extending the lifespan of 260,000 existing affordable homes.
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.
Starting tomorrow, the mass vaccination site at the former Sears store in Devonshire Mall is now offering non-COVID-19 vaccinations to help grade 7 to 12 students catch up immunizations. Immunizations for Hepatitis B, Human Papillomavirus (HPV), and Meningococcal Disease will be offered. COVID-19 vaccinations will also continue to be offered. You can read more 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. The Devonshire mass vaccination site is open Tuesdays from 11:30am to 6:15pm, and Wednesdays to Saturdays from 9am to 3:30pm. 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:
- Tuesday March 8 – CMHA – 1400 Windsor Ave, Windsor – 1pm to 4pm
- Wednesday March 9 – Adie Knox – 1551 Wyandotte St W, Windsor – 9am to 2:30pm
- Wednesday March 9 – The Windsor Women Working with Immigrant Women (W5) – 1368 Ouellette Ave, Windsor – 9am to 4pm
- Wednesday March 9 – Windsor Water World – 400 Wyandotte St E, Windsor – 9am to 4pm
- Friday March 11 – Windsor Bus Terminal Downtown – 300 Chatham Ave, Windsor – 9am to 4pm
- Friday March 11 – Downtown Windsor Public Library – 185 Ouellette Ave, Windsor – 9:30am to 3:30pm
Please continue to stay safe and follow public health guidelines.