The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit has reported 59 new COVID-19 cases along with one additional death in the community. Yesterday there were 46 new cases, and on Tuesday there were 28 cases. There has been a total of 15,970 total cases and 420 deaths related to COVID-19 since the pandemic began. Of the new cases announced today, 23 are from close contact with another confirmed case, 16 are considered community spread, one is outbreak related, and 19 are under investigation. There are currently 340 active cases in our community, with half being variants of concern, 23 confirmed cases in the hospital, three in the ICU, 15,210 cases listed as resolved, and 203,685 doses of the vaccine have been administered. Across the province today there were 2,759 new cases. Yesterday there were 2,320 cases, and on Tuesday there were 2,073 cases.
STAY-AT-HOME ORDER EXTENDED TWO WEEKS
The provincial government announced today that the stay-at-home order would be extended until at least June 2 to bring down high rates of COVID-19. The Chief Medical Officer of Health for the province said that he would like to see cases drop well below 1,000 per day before the order is lifted. I know that everyone is frustrated and exhausted, and so many are struggling with isolation. This extension of the stay-at-home order comes as the government continues to refuse to do what the health experts have recommended. Our caucus continues to push for the government to implement our proposals that will help curb the spread of COVID-19 and which echo the recommendations of health experts. We continue to call for 14 paid sick days, to close non-essential businesses and give them financial supports, focus on hotspots, and re-open outdoor activities, safely, right away.
There will be a drive-thru vaccination clinic offered today starting at 5pm at 1720 Howard Ave. for anyone who has yet to receive their first dose. There will be 300 doses of the Pfizer vaccine available on a first come, first serve basis to anyone over the age of 30, those over 18 living in a hot spot postal code, individuals with high-risk health conditions, and residents included in the province’s Group 1 and 2 of essential workers. The drive-thru vaccination clinic will run while supplies last.
The province announced that starting on May 31, youth between the ages of 12 and 17, and their family members who have not received the vaccine, will be able to book an appointment to receive their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine. Health Canada approved the Pfizer vaccine for children 12 and up earlier this month. You can read the government’s announcement here.
PANDEMIC IMPACT ON BUSINESSES
The results from the Windsor-Essex Economic Development Survey were released today on the impact, adaptation, and outlook of local businesses during the pandemic. The survey received 280 responses from local businesses and showed that 77 per cent of respondents expect to feel the impact of COVID-19 for the next six to 18 months. You can find the full results of the survey here. Our caucus continues to call on the provincial government to provide direct financial supports for workers and businesses that are affected by closures because of COVID-19. The current Ontario Small Business Support Grant program falls short, as many eligible business owners that have applied to the program have yet to receive funding and have waited months to receive any answers on their applications. Small businesses have been struggling to pay the bills and keep the lights on throughout this pandemic. They need financial support now if they are going to stay afloat. If you're a small business owner and you have yet to receive any further information on your application, please contact my constituency office at 519-251-5199 or [email protected]
The provincial government has announced a new Ontario Tourism and Travel Small Business Support Grant which will provide one-time payments of $10,000 to $20,000 to support eligible small tourism and travel businesses that are struggling from the impact of COVID-19 and did not receive the Ontario Small Business Support Grant. To qualify, businesses must have fewer than 100 employees and demonstrate they have experienced a minimum of 20 per cent revenue decline between 2019 and 2020. The deadline to apply is June 25, 2021. You can find more information about the Ontario Tourism and Travel Small Business Support Grant and apply here.
REMOTE LEARNING TO CONTINUE IN SCHOOLS
The provincial government said that remote learning will continue for students across the province until further notice and there is no decision yet on when schools can reopen to in-person learning. My office has heard from many constituents throughout the pandemic who have shared their stories about how challenging remote learning has been for both parents and kids. We recognize the toll that remote learning is taking on students, parents, and teachers, and they deserve safe schools so they can go back to in-person learning as soon as possible. We will continue to push for COVID-safe schools including better ventilation, upgrades like touchless faucets, more and permanent mental health supports, and classes capped at 15 for safety and better one-on-one attention.
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.