Good evening everyone,
Last month, Ontario announced the $20-million Ontario COVID-19 Rapid Research Fund, to be put towards Ontario-based research projects looking into various aspects of COVID-19, and today the Provincial government announced the first phase of these projects, an investment of $7.2 million. The first phase involves 15 proposals accepted by the government, including a rapid testing method put forward by St. Joseph’s Healthcare in Hamilton, a McMaster University study of recovered patients to examine antibodies and if they help prevent the spread of COVID-19, a food security project at Western University and a proposal from the University of Guelph to advance a vaccine. Ontario has 22 clinical trials under way investigating COVID-19 treatments and vaccines. Read the government’s media release here.
The Provincial government said more information is coming next week on increased testing in Ontario, noting the desire for more tests done on asymptomatic people and in specific sectors. Specifically, they said truckers, taxi and Uber drivers, front-line long-term care workers, meat processing plants and the automotive sector will be tested.
Our party has called on the government to meet their target goals as they have consistently fallen short since early April. Ontario’s COVID-19 testing fell to a paltry 7,382, well short of the current 20,000-test goal which it has yet to meet.
Ontario’s COVID-19 case numbers have been inching back up after the Victoria Day long weekend, but the Provincial government said the province will continue to rely on professional medical advice on the conditions in Stage 1 of the provincial recovery plan and when, or if, we will be able to move to Stage 2.
The Prime Minister announced the government is providing $75 million in new funding to support programs and services that address the critical needs of more than one million Indigenous people who live in urban centres or off reserve. This is in addition to $15 million for the same cause that was announced in March, funding that is supporting shelters, providing meals, groceries, clothing, other supplies that are in demand during the pandemic and to provide mental health support. It is particularly aimed at vulnerable populations — youth, women and elders.
The Prime Minister said preparation for testing will be key to the effort of managing and controlling a second, third, or fourth wave of COVID-19. The federal government is working with the provinces to “massively” scale up testing and contact tracing capacity to ensure that in a future wave of the pandemic officials are prepared to move quickly.
The City of Windsor has recently made some changes to patio fees, waiving them for the remainder of 2020 to allow bars and restaurants to create accessible open spaces where patrons can be appropriately socially distanced. Rental fees for Lanspeary Park have also been waived to allow for a pilot project for an outdoor food hall. More importantly they will be handing out hand sanitizer for free to small businesses on Friday May 22nd at the WFCU from 9am to 2pm (while supplies last). People will need to present ID and a business card to qualify. All the details can be found here.
Windsor-Essex now has 826 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 63 deaths.