The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit is reporting 16 new COVID-19 cases today. Yesterday there were 24 cases, and on Sunday there were 46 cases. There have been 16,149 cases and 421 deaths related to COVID-19 in our region since the pandemic began. Of the new cases announced today five are from close contact with another confirmed case, nine are considered community spread, and two are under investigation. There are now 335 active cases in the community, with 55 per cent of those being variants of concern, 21 confirmed cases in the hospital, one in the ICU, and 15,393 cases listed as resolved. 221,098 doses of the vaccine have been administered, which accounts for 60.2 per cent of individuals 18 and over in Windsor-Essex having received at least one dose of the vaccine. Across the province today there were 1,616 new COVID-19 cases, the fewest since March 24. Yesterday there were 2,170 cases, and on Sunday there were 2,199 cases.
A BIG THANK YOU TO OUR NURSES
Today in the Legislature, I recognized the outstanding dedication of every nurse in Windsor-Essex. For the second year in a row, Windsor-Essex nurses are being honoured with the Lois Fairley Nurse of the Year award. As a symbol of their service to our community, there will be a dedicated bench in Leamington’s Seacliff Park to acknowledge the valuable contribution of the nurses in Windsor and Essex County. The nurses have already established similar benches in Windsor’s Jackson Park and at the Health and Wellness Centre in Amherstburg. Our nurses have been recognizing one of their own since 2008. The “Nurse of the Year” award carries the name and honours the contribution of a former President of the O.N.A. Lois Fairley spent her career as a nurse and Head Nurse looking after patients at our former Salvation Army Grace Hospital. This year’s theme to Nursing Week is Still Standing, Still Proud, a theme that reflects the challenges that nurses have withstood throughout this pandemic, and their remarkable resilience and dedication. During this pandemic, nurses have worked hard each and every day and night, every single shift, month after month. They are exhausted, yet they have persevered and continue to care for all of us in need. The courage, professionalism, and compassion they display is humbling. Nurses are loved, trusted, respected, and appreciated by their patients and by the people of Ontario.
A drive-thru vaccination clinic will run tonight from 6pm to 8pm at 1720 Howard Ave on a first come, first serve basis. The 500 doses of the Moderna vaccine will be available to anyone over the age of 18 requiring their first shot and will not be administered to the driver of the vehicle.
Starting today, all adults 18 years and older, all essential workers who cannot work from home that are 16 years and older, and anyone 12 years and older in the Highest Risk, High Risk, or At-Risk Health Conditions categories (details on these categories on page 18 here.) are eligible to book an appointment for their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. To book your appointment, please visit www.wevax.ca or call 226-773-2200
David Musyj, the President and CEO of Windsor Regional Hospital, says that he has received a response from the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) on a request to allow Canadians to cross the border to get a COVID-19 vaccine and avoid a quarantine upon return. According to PHAC, getting vaccinated is considered an essential medical service, and Musyj said certain documents will be required in advance of crossing. While details are still being discussed, Musyj said it will be in people’s best interest to book an actual appointment as proof of the reason for crossing, getting a passport time stamped to help ensure there aren’t any extra stops made, and crossing will have to be done in a personal vehicle, not on a Transit Windsor tunnel bus. Entry to the U.S. would be subject to U.S. entry requirements, and the decision to forego quarantine when returning to Canada would be up to Canadian border security upon return and would be made on a case-by-case basis. You can read more about it here.
The federal government announced a $200 million investment to help a Mississauga based company build a plant that can produce millions of mRNA vaccines. We currently have no capacity to manufacture the vaccine in Canada. Decisions dating back to the 1980s under past federal governments has resulted in Canada being unable to manufacture the needed vaccines in sufficient quantity meaning Canadians must rely on purchase agreements through the Federal Government with U.S. and European pharmaceutical brands, including Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca, to produce and provide the shots to Canadians. After the 2003 SARS and 2009 H1N1 outbreaks, the Canadian government was warned that they needed a secure and steady supply of vaccines and was recommended to develop a “national vaccine strategy and yet the federal government did not follow up on this recommendation. These issues, compounded with the confusing and chaotic vaccination plan from the provincial government, resulted in the slow rollout we have experienced. We continue to call on both levels of government to do everything in their power to ensure that sufficient vaccines are available to our community.
FORD FIREWORKS CLOSED TO LIVE ATTENDANTS AGAIN
The Ford Fireworks display will go ahead this year, but will be closed for spectators to view it live. The fireworks will be set off on June 28 at the Lake St. Clair Metropark location in Michigan, which will not be open to the public. It will be broadcast on the Detroit TV station WDIV LOCAL 4. You can read more here.
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.