The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit is reporting 41 new cases of COVID-19 today. Yesterday there were 48 new cases, and on Saturday there were 45 cases. Our region has had a total of 15,568 cases and 414 deaths since the pandemic began. Of the new cases announced today, one is outbreak related, 20 are from close contact with another confirmed case, four are considered community spread, and 16 are under investigation. There are currently 427 active cases, with 114 being variants of concern, 20 cases in the hospital with three in the ICU, 14,727 cases listed as resolved, and 168,667 doses of the vaccine have been administered. Across the province today there were 3,346 cases of COVID-19 reported. Yesterday there were 3,732 cases, and on Saturday there were 3,369 cases.
EXPANDED AVAILABILITY OF VACCINES IN COVID HOT SPOTS
The local health unit has advised that the two pop-up vaccination clinics were successful today with all available vaccines that had been allocated to them being administered.
COVID-19 vaccine eligibility expanded today for residents 18 and over who are in a hot-spot postal code. The seven hot spot postal codes in Windsor-Essex start with N8X, N8Y, N9A, N9B, N9C, N8H, and N9Y. Eligibility will expand further on Thursday May 6, when online bookings will open to all residents aged 50 and over and for some people with high-risk health conditions and some groups of people who can’t work from home. Vaccinations for eligible residents are by appointment only and can be made here: www.wevax.ca
SECURING MORE VACCINES
Dr. Ahmed, our local Medical Officer of Health, has said that talks are happening to determine if there is a way for unused COVID-19 vaccines available in Michigan to be available for Windsorites. The City has suggested that Transit Windsor could be used to bring people across the border for a shot and get them back home. At this time there is no confirmation that such an initiative could proceed.
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is now being recommended for all Canadians 30 years of age and older. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) said that it is up to Canadians in that age group to decide whether they should take it or wait for an mRNA vaccine, such as Pfizer or Moderna, because of the potential for rare blood clots that have been reported. Blood clots are extremely rare from both the AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, and health experts have repeatedly suggested that the benefits of vaccines outweigh the risk. You can read more here.
Meanwhile, a reminder that Windsor Vax-Finders will also be launching on Wednesday. They are a volunteer-ran group that will be posting information about available vaccine appointment slots at local pharmacies and health unit-ran mass vaccination sites across Windsor-Essex. Finding a COVID-19 vaccination appointment is challenging and not easily accessible for many. The group hopes to post daily appointment availabilities on Facebook and Twitter (and potentially Instagram at a later time) to help our communities in the process. They will not be providing any advice or actual help booking the appointments themselves, but rather, will have a Frequently Asked Questions page to direct residents to government resources as well as the local health unit.
Check them out on Facebook: WV Finders (https://www.facebook.com/WV-Finders-101785732069766 ) and on Twitter: @WindsorVax
FINANCIAL SUPPORTS FOR FAMILIES - DEADLINE TO APPLY FOR THE ONTARIO COVID-19 CHILD BENEFIT IS MAY 17, 2021
The Ontario COVID-19 Child Benefit provides financial support to families with learners to help with additional costs during the COVID-19 pandemic. Starting on April 26 the Government began issuing payments of: (a) $400 for each child or youth up to Grade 12; or (b) $500 for each child or youth up to age 21 with special needs under the Ontario COVID-19 Child benefit. Children, youth, or students are eligible if they: attend a publicly funded, private or First Nation or federally operated school - whether in-person or online; are homeschooled; are enrolled in child care; or at home. If you received a payment through the Support for Learners program for a child, you do not need to apply for this additional payment. However, if you did not apply for the Support for Learners Program for a child, or if you applied for Support for Learners but did not receive your payment by April 23, you will not automatically receive payment under the Ontario COVID-19 Child Benefit. In this case, you will need to apply for it. Applications must be made by May 17, 2021, and the application can be made here starting today.
My office, as well as other offices have heard from a number of other constituents of difficulties with this program as well. If you are a constituent of the riding of Windsor-Tecumseh, and had previously applied under the Support for Learners Program and are still have difficulties getting the money, please reach out to my offices. You will need to provide documentation that you applied, and any emails that you may have from the program. We will also ask for you to sign and return a consent form to allow us to make enquiries on your behalf. Please note, that just like you, we continue to have difficulty getting clear and timely answers, but will do our best to see what can be done to resolve your issues.
FIGHTING FOR YOU IN THE LEGISLATURE
We continue to fight for 14 paid sick days following confirmation from the co-chair of Ontario’s Science Table that the provincial government’s three-paid-sick days-only plan will result in a longer, more devastating third wave. COVID-19 makes people sick for at least 14 days. Offering people only three paid days off means out-of-control workplace spread in Ontario is going to continue. People will continue to be forced to choose between going into work while suffering from COVID-19, or losing out on wages they need to keep a roof over their head and food on their table. For a year, the provincial government has fought against giving workers paid sick days. In that time, 455,000 Ontarians were infected and nearly 8,000 died of COVID-19. If we do not offer people enough paid sick days to stay home until they’re well, COVID-19 will continue to cause suffering, tragic death, and devastation in our province for months to come.
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.