The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit has reported 28 new COVID-19 cases in Windsor-Essex today along with two additional losses from community members. Yesterday there were 38 new cases, and on Sunday there were 47 cases. Of the new cases announced today, 14 are from close contact with another confirmed case, nine are considered community spread, and five are under investigation. Our region has had 15,865 cases and 419 deaths related to COVID-19 since the pandemic began. There are currently 329 active cases in the community, with 190 of those being variants of concern, 15 cases in the hospital, three in the ICU, 15,117 cases listed as resolved, and 195,597 doses of the vaccine have been administered. Across the province today there were 2,073 new cases, the fewest on a single day since March 24. Yesterday there were 2,716 cases and on Sunday there were 3,216 cases.
THANK YOU TO OUR NURSES
The Registered Nurses Association of Ontario (RNAO) and Windsor-Essex Chapter are announcing that every single nurse of Windsor-Essex is a recipient of the 14th annual Lois Fairley Nursing Award this year. As a symbol of their service to our community, a bench will be dedicated in Leamington’s Seacliff Park to recognize the immense contribution they have made. Throughout the pandemic, nurses have been on the front lines, putting their lives and those of their family at risk for the betterment of our community. I can’t thank them enough for all they have done, and each nurse is truly deserving of this recognition. We also continue to call on the Government to provide nurses with the support they need as they continue to care for our community throughout the pandemic, such as 14 paid sick days and urgent vaccinations.
A pop-up vaccination clinic will be offered today from 5pm to 8pm at 1720 Howard Ave. The 250 Pfizer doses available will be given out on a first-come, first-serve basis for anyone over the age of 40, as well as those over the age of 18 living in a hot spot postal code, individuals with high-risk health conditions, and residents included in the province’s Group 1 of essential workers. You can find the province’s guidelines for these categories here.
With reports that nearly half of Ontario adults have now been vaccinated, our caucus has called on the provincial government to develop a comprehensive plan to be released urgently for speeding up second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. People are anxious and frustrated, knowing their second vaccine appointment isn’t until a full four months after their first, or not knowing how they’re going to find a second appointment within the right time frame. Four months is the longest possible safe delay in between the two shots, according to the National Advisory Committee on Immunization, while Pfizer and Moderna recommend getting the second dose about three weeks after the first. Ontario’s Health Minister has said the government “may” shorten the interval — but hasn’t released any information about booking and re-booking millions of appointments. With supply rolling in, it’s wrong to force everyone to wait until the very last minute it’s medically acceptable to get the second dose. And it’s wrong to drag this out into the fall when we can do better. We need a plan to book millions of people’s appointments, rather than continuing the scavenger-hunt system in place now. We need a plan to re-book millions of people’s second-dose appointments, so they get their second shot quicker. We need a second-dose play book that’s far less chaotic and less sloppy than the first dose rollout has been.
The CEO of the local health unit, Theresa Marentette, has reported that pharmacies across our region have used up their supply of AstraZeneca vaccines and it is still unknown when pharmacies will be receiving their next shipment. She has urged that people should remain on waitlists, but if another opportunity arises to get vaccinated, to take it but make sure to cancel your spot on the waitlist. You can read more here.
Windsor Regional Hospital President David Musyj says they have applied to a Special Access Program through Health Canada in an attempt to bring available COVID-19 vaccines from Michigan across the border to Windsor-Essex. The application was submitted to Health Canada yesterday and they have requested 600,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. At this time, Health Canada has only said that they have received the request and the situation is under review. You can read more here.
ADVOCATING FOR SUPPORTS FOR RENTERS
In the Legislature today, my colleague, MPP Jill Andrew, put forward a motion for the provincial government to ban Above Guideline Increases (AGIs) to residential rents for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic and at least 12 months after. AGIs add undue financial hardship to tenants, and are especially challenging during a pandemic, when many have lost jobs or income, are dealing with illness and the stress of supervising kids’ online learning.
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.