The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit is reporting 24 new cases of COVID-19 today. Yesterday there were 46 cases, and on Saturday there were 52 cases. Of the new cases announced today, 14 are from close contact with another confirmed case, five are considered community spread, and five are under investigation. Our region has recorded 16,133 cases and 421 deaths related to COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic. There are currently 362 active cases in the community, with 212 of those being variants of concern. There are 20 confirmed cases in the hospital, three in the ICU, 15,350 cases listed as resolved, and 218,590 doses of the vaccine have been administered. Across the province today there were 2,170 new cases of COVID-19. Yesterday there were 2,199 cases, and on Saturday there were 2,584 cases.
ADVOCATING FOR YOU IN THE LEGISLATURE
The Government continues to ignore the advice of the Government’s Science table. In the wake of a new report from a group of researchers that calls on the Government to immediately “prioritize outdoors activities for children and youth” in order to help mitigate some of the “devastating” impacts that pandemic-related restrictions have had on their health and well-being; the Government chose to defeat a motion put forward by our caucus. The motion, calling for the immediate safe re-opening of outdoor recreation amenities, reads as follows:
That, in the opinion of House, the Ford Government should allow outdoor amenities and activities to immediately re-open safely in keeping with the recommendations of the Ontario Science Table and other public health experts as part of an overall effort to promote the mental and physical health of Ontarians during COVID-19 lockdown orders.
By keeping outdoor recreational amenities closed, the provincial government is hurting kids and families who have been cooped up inside for months. Not only is getting outside a relief for people and children coping with anxiety and isolation – it’s safer than being indoors. We will continue to fight to give families the freedom to get outside and participate in safe activities.
A pop-up vaccination clinic will be open while supplies last at the Windsor-Essex County Community Health Centre (weCHC) located at 3320 College Ave. tomorrow from 9am to 4pm. The pop-up vaccination clinic will be open to any Windsor-Essex County residents 18 years and older who have not yet received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. No appointment is necessary.
The province has announced that all adults, 18 years and older, in the province will be eligible to book a COVID-19 vaccine starting tomorrow. The province also announced that they will no longer be prioritizing sending vaccines to hot spot areas, and instead will now be sending them to regions on a per-capita basis. We have called on the provincial government to continue to listen to the advice of health experts and to not abandon the hot spot strategy. Ontario’s science table recommended that 50 per cent of vaccines go to the 74 hot spot areas for no less than 25 days. The provincial government instead spread those doses out and sent them to 114 postal code areas for just two weeks.
The local health unit has announced that they will provide an update tomorrow for Group 2 essential workers 16 years of age and older. CEO Theresa Marentette said the rollout won’t be for everyone in this age group, but for those essential workers who are working in places like grocery stores and fast-food restaurants. You can read more here.
Windsor Regional Hospital CEO, David Musyj has said that Canadian laws may allow Canadians to cross the border to get vaccinated, after reports had come out of doses being wasted in Michigan. Musyj is still seeking clarification from the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) on how this might be possible to help get our region vaccinated faster. You can read more here.
RAPID COVID-19 TESTING AVAILABLE AT SOME PHARMACIES
Starting today, all Shoppers Drug Mart and Loblaws pharmacies will begin to offer COVID-19 tests for people who are asymptomatic customers in Ontario, with results as quick as 15-20 minutes. The tests are priced at $40 each and will be processed in the pharmacy, with a record of the test and results provided to the individual after their visit. Customers must call to book their appointments at the pharmacy.
COVID-19 IMPACT ON BUSINESSES
A new survey from Workforce Windsor-Essex shows that local businesses expect to feel the effect of the pandemic well into the future, with 77 per cent of the 280 businesses surveyed saying it will be felt for up to 18 months after the pandemic is resolved. My office has heard from many local businesses of the struggles they are facing in this pandemic. We have heard of difficulties with the Ontario Small Business Support Grant (OSBSG), and how businesses are still not receiving clear communication from the government whether their grants have been approved. Our caucus continues to call on the government to provide more supports for small businesses, and for financial supports for workers who have lost their jobs. If you have applied for the OSBSG and are experiencing difficulties, please reach out to my office at [email protected] or [email protected].
MASKS ARE NOW MANDATORY ON BUSES IN WINDSOR
Transit Windsor has been ordered to deny access to anyone trying to ride the bus without a mask on, even if they have a medical exemption. This decision is a directive of the federal government, as bus service crosses an international border. The order stipulates that a proper face mask must be worn by riders, and anyone pulling tee shirts over their face, using a bandana, or face shields will be denied access to the bus. The City of Windsor and Transit Windsor appealed the decision but were advised the federal ruling couldn’t be challenged under the human rights code. You can read more here.
POSSIBLE EXPOSURE POINTS
The local health unit has updated their website with possible exposure points in our community. You can find it here, along with the date and times of possible exposure.
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.