The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit is reporting 38 new COVID-19 cases in the region, along with one additional loss of a community member. Yesterday there were 47 cases reported, and on Saturday there were 37 cases reported, and two deaths. Of the new cases reported today one is outbreak related, 15 are from close contact with another confirmed case, nine are considered community spread, and 13 are under investigation. Our region has seen 15,837 cases and 417 deaths since the pandemic began. There are currently 367 active cases in our community, with 173 of those being variants of concern, two confirmed cases in the hospital, three confirmed cases in the ICU, 15,053 cases listed as resolved, and 190,878 doses of the vaccine have been administered. Across the province today there were 2,716 cases of COVID-19. On Sunday there were 3,216 cases and on Saturday there were 2,864 cases.
ADVOCATING FOR YOU IN THE LEGISLATURE
Windsor Regional Hospital has said it could still be weeks before some procedures resume. WRH took in 70 patients from the GTA to help that area deal with an ICU crisis caused by COVID-19. Dr. Saad, the Chief of Staff at WRH, has said that a backlog of these surgeries will have to wait until COVID-19 numbers stabilize across the province and the Ministry of Health is waiting for infection rates to drop across the GTA. WRH is expecting 10 more patients, and additional ICU patients to arrive this week from the GTA. We recognize the toll that these backlogs are having on individuals who have long been waiting for their surgeries, and the Government should be taking immediate action to address these delays. The Financial Accountability Officer said that by September 2021, 419,200 surgeries will be backlogged, along with 2.5 million diagnostic procedures – like cancer scans. The province has allocated less than half of the funding needed to clear the surgical backlog, leaving thousands of people to suffer longer and deeper. In contrast, British Columbia recognized that COVID-19 was causing a surgical backlog, allocated funding, and released a public plan to aggressively complete those surgeries. As a result, that province had cleared 95 per cent of its backlog by March. We are urging the government to put forward an aggressive plan to quickly get Ontario patients the surgeries and diagnostic procedures that have been delayed – and to fund that plan, now.
We have heard from many of our constituents that the Government isn't doing enough to lower the costs of auto insurance, especially as statistics show that vehicle accidents are down — yet insurance premiums continue to rise. Our caucus has called on the provincial government to reign in the record high cost of insurance with a meaningful rebate for Ontario drivers. In Ontario we pay some of the highest auto insurance rates in the country and during the pandemic, so many are struggling. We have asked the government to support people with a 50 per cent decrease on auto insurance payments during the pandemic and allow payment deferrals for those that have lost their jobs in these times of economic uncertainty.
Our caucus tabled a bill today to make May 10 an annual provincial Day of Action on Anti-Asian Racism, emphasizing the urgent need to call out rising discrimination, harassment and hate crimes targeting Asian people. During the COVID-19 pandemic, over 1,150 incidents of anti-Asian racism were reported across Canada. We know that violence against the Asian community has increased, and that 40 per cent of these racist attacks happened in Ontario. The provincial government blocked the immediate passage of the bill today, but we will keep fighting for this bill and to put an end to the rising tide of anti-Asian racism and systemic discrimination, ensuring that people in Asian community across the province are respected, safe, and supported. We have also called on the provincial government to immediately:
- Implement a province-wide anti-racism strategy that specifically addresses the rise in anti-Asian hate and works to dismantle organized hate groups and systemic discrimination
- Establish a fully-funded, independent and empowered Anti-Racism Secretariat to take the lead on this critical work
- Mandate race-based data collection across all provincial ministries
- Create a real COVID-19 equity plan that ensures the hardest hit communities – including Asian communities, elders, women, small businesses, and essential workers – get the respect and direct financial support they deserve to recover from the pandemic
Adults 40 years and older are now eligible to book an appointment for a COVID-19 vaccine. Starting tomorrow, the province will be expanding eligibility for vaccines to adults who fall under the Group 2 category of essential workers who cannot work from home. These include grocery store and restaurant workers. All appointments must be booked through www.wevax.ca or by calling 226-773-2200.
The province announced that it is very likely that Ontario will need to mix vaccines in order to get second doses to Ontarians who have already gotten their first shot of AstraZeneca. The province is watching the United Kingdom will also require revised guidance from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization, which is expected to take a position on mixing doses in the coming weeks. You can read more here.
Windsor Regional Hospital Met Campus COVID-19 Assessment Centre will remain open for another week to ensure that same-day testing can continue. The Met Campus testing location will be open Monday through Friday from 8:30am to 3:30pm. You can book an appointment for either Met Campus or Ouellette Campus here.
The provincial government has sent 800,000 rapid COVID-19 tests to 28 chambers of commerce across Ontario including Windsor-Essex. The tests will be available to businesses with 150 staff members or less. Workplaces interested in a two-week supply of the tests can submit a request at www.westaysafe.ca starting Wednesday May 12
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.