The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit is reporting 24 new cases of COVID-19 today. Yesterday there were 13 cases, and on Tuesday there were 16 cases. Since the beginning of the pandemic there have been 16,460 cases and 426 deaths related to the virus. Of the new cases announced today, 11 are from close contact with another confirmed case, eight are community acquired, one is outbreak related, and four are under investigation. There are currently 266 active cases in our region, with 129 of those being variants of concern. There are 18 local people in hospital with COVID-19, with five in the ICU, 15,768 cases listed as resolved, and 234,858 doses of the vaccine have been administered. Across the province today there were 1,135 cases of COVID-19 reported. Yesterday there were 1,039 cases, and on Tuesday there were 1,446.
The local health unit has added a waitlist feature to their WEVax website. Now, anyone looking to book a COVID-19 vaccine at a mass vaccination site can add themselves to a waitlist for possible same-day appointments. CEO Theresa Marentette said she still encourages residents to book appointments because the same-day waitlist is not a guarantee. The health unit has also added a waitlist option for people over 70 years of age who received their first dose in March and would like to receive their second dose. Any waitlists for vaccines at pharmacies is being coordinated through the pharmacies themselves. Please visit www.wevax.ca to book any appointments at mass vaccination sites.
The Federal government has confirmed that two million more doses of the Moderna vaccine will arrive in Canada over the next two weeks. 500,000 doses are expected next week, and 1.5 million are expected before June 14. Moderna had pledged to send 14.3 million doses to Canada in the first six months of this year, but so far has only delivered 5.6 million. You can read more here.
The Premier has said today that he is seeking experts’ advice on whether it is safe to reopen schools for the last month of the academic year and has written to public health agencies, hospitals, and teachers unions for their input. My office has heard from parents, teachers, and education workers who are exhausted. We know the kids are also drained and struggling with growing mental health and wellbeing challenges, isolation and learning hurdles. The Premier has had many months to build a plan to make schools safe to reopen. Instead, he chose to do nothing for months, to ignore the advice of health and education experts, ignore feedback from frontline education workers, and refuse to spend the money to make schools safe. It’s the end of May, and only now does the Premier start to ask health and education experts for feedback. This government needs to stop treating kids’ education as an afterthought, and spend what it takes to make schools safe, including smaller class sizes and better ventilation.
LONG-TERM CARE HOMES
The Premier and LTC Minister reported today that as of April 1, a regulation was amended to designate mandatory cooling areas in all long-term care homes, but there is no requirement to have air conditioning in resident rooms. This is another broken promise from this government. Our caucus has been fighting for air conditioning in residents' rooms since at least 2006. We’ve known for years this is a dangerous and cruel problem to ignore — it should not take years to get air conditioning installed. The Long-Term Care Act has, for years, required cooling in common areas. Last summer, the Premier acknowledged that wasn’t good enough, and yet nothing has changed since then. We will continue to advocate for air conditioning in resident rooms, and we will continue to call on this government 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.
HOSPITAL LOOKING TO HIRE NURSES
Windsor Regional Hospital (WRH) is offering financial incentives as part of a recruitment drive to attract and hire more nurses. The incentives include signing bonuses ranging from $10,000 and $75,000, depending on qualifications, for nurses from out of province or out of country, including Canadians currently working in the United States. You can read all the details here.
ART IN THE PARK TO BE VIRTUAL THIS YEAR
Art In The Park will be done virtually this year, with the organizers planning a virtual auction after the June event was cancelled for a second year in a row. The virtual auction will begin at 9am on June 5 and will close at 6pm on June 6. Items will be displayed online for interested buyers to bid on, with the highest bidders being contacted on June 7. Purchases will be completed through PayPal and shipping will be restricted to Canadian addresses. 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.