The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit is reporting 13 new cases of COVID-19, and the loss of two community members. Since the beginning of the pandemic there have been 16,436 total cases and 426 deaths related to COVID-19. Yesterday there were 16 cases, and on Monday there were 34 cases. Of the new cases reported today, seven were close contact with a previously confirmed case, two were community spread, one is outbreak related, and three are under investigation. There are currently 297 active cases in our community, with 159 of those being variants of concern. There are 17 confirmed cases in the hospital, five in the ICU, 15,713 cases listed as resolved, and 231,271 doses of the vaccine have been administered. Across the province today there were 1,095 cases. Yesterday there were 1,039 cases, and on Monday there were 1,446 cases.
FIGHTING FOR LOCAL BUSINESSES
We know that many businesses cannot hold on much longer, and with weeks to go before re-opening, local businesses and the people who work there need and deserve support to get back on their feet. We are calling for funding to help local businesses make it to their re-opening day, and stay open — including a new and vastly improved round of the Ontario Small Business Support Grant, and a tax credit for visiting Ontario-owned restaurants and Ontario tourism businesses. With a package to champion local businesses, we can keep workers on the payroll, help businesses make it to their re-opening day, rebuild Ontario’s battered main streets, and help entrepreneurs keep their dreams alive. The provincial government needs to spend the money to help them make it through so they can contribute to a strong Ontario recovery.
We are calling for:
A vastly improved third round of Ontario Small Business Support Grant payments
Unlike the Premier's earlier choices, this time, the government must not leave any business behind – providing a new payment to bridge to reopening every small or medium-sized local business that’s experienced revenue decline in the third wave, compared to pre-pandemic.
A $1,000 tourism and local restaurant tax credit
The Travel Ontario Tax Credit bill from MPP Wayne Gates (Niagara Falls) gives families a $1,000 tax credit to visit qualifying tourism businesses in Ontario, including qualifying purchases at restaurants, to hotels, outfitters and attractions.
Targeted re-opening support for personal care and service-based businesses
Especially impacted by necessary public health measures, personal care businesses like salons and service-industry businesses like restaurants need access to a Safe Reopening Grant in order to open, and stay open.
Access to forgivable loans
Businesses may need access to capital to re-open and drive economic recovery.
Dr. David Williams, Ontario’s top doctor, has said that he would like to see in-class learning resume before the province enters the first step of the reopening plan in mid-June. Locally, the president of the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario (ETFO) agrees with Dr. Williams, but has said that proper consultations need to take place and that it is disappointing teachers haven’t been included in the decision making. I continue to hear from constituents on this important issue, and my colleagues and I continue to call on the province to put a cap on class sizes, ensure schools are equipped with better ventilation and windows that open, and infection control upgrades like touchless faucets. It was shocking and disappointing that the provincial government ignored students and schools entirely when they released their reopening plan for the province last week. We will continue to fight for safe schools.
ADVOCATING FOR RESIDENTS IN LONG TERM CARE
The Financial Accountability Office (FAO) has released a report that says Ontario will not meet its goal of creating 15,000 new LTC beds by 2024, and that Ontario will need more than 30,000 new beds in the sector in 10 years. The FAO also says the province will need to hire 17,000 more personal support workers and more than 12,000 nurses to fulfil a promise to increase the average amount of direct care per resident to four hours per day. On top of this, it was reported today that the Premier’s promise to regulate air conditioning in LTC still goes unfulfilled. Our parents and grandparents are still laying in sweltering rooms. But the Premier just doesn’t want to spend the money to fix these problems, and give nursing home residents the care, attention, and quality of life they deserve. We need a plan for better care and better quality of life for our parents and grandparents – and more peace of mind for their families. We need to make the entire system public and not-for-profit, create 50,000 new spaces, and end the wait for home care and long-term care, and finally give every resident the hours of daily care and attention they deserve. You can read the full report here.
COVID-19 REPORTING IN HOSPITALS
Windsor Regional Hospital has updated how they were reporting the number of active cases of COVID-19 they have. There is now a chart on the hospital’s website that will be updated daily and will reflect the number of local cases we have, as well as the number of out-of-town transfers who are also in the ICU. The out-of-town transfers do not impact local numbers, and those people are tracked by their own local health units. You can find that updated chart here.
PUBLIC HEALTH AGENCY CANADA REPORT
The Auditor General has found that the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) was not prepared for the pandemic because it ignored internal audits that found serious gaps in the National Emergency Strategic Stockpile (NESS). According to the report, PHAC had inadequate inventory control and had little sense of how much PPE would be required to handle the pandemic, despite two separate audits that explored the state of the NESS in 2010 and 2013. You can read more here.
LOCAL AMENITIES REOPENING
Lakeview Park Marina will be opening their boat ramp and fuel pumps tomorrow morning. The city is reminding residents to keep COVID-19 precautions in mind while at the marina, and boaters are encouraged to wear masks and social distance.
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.