The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit has reported 40 new cases of COVID-19 today. Yesterday there were 28 new cases and on Monday there were 41 cases. Our region has had a total of 15,636 cases and 414 deaths related to COVID-19 since the pandemic began. Of the new cases announced today, 18 are from closed contact with another confirmed case, 20 are considered community spread, and two are under investigation. There are now 384 active cases in our community, with 153 of those being variants of concern, 12 confirmed cases in the hospital with five in the ICU, 14,838 cases listed as resolved, and 175,175 doses of the vaccine have been administered. The local health unit has reported that 37 per cent of the entire population of Windsor-Essex has now been vaccinated. Across the province today there were 2,941 cases. Yesterday there were 2,791 cases, and on Monday there were 3,346 cases.
The Moderna vaccine will soon be available at Windsor-Essex pharmacies according to the Ontario Minister of Health, who said that up to 60 pharmacies will begin to offer it later this week for individuals aged 18 and over. There is no word yet on how many local pharmacies will be offering Moderna. You can read more here.
Starting tomorrow, some essential workers who cannot work from home will be eligible to book a vaccination at a mass vaccination site. These eligible workers include:
- Elementary/secondary school staff (including educators, custodians and administrators) and bus drivers that transport students
- Workers responding to critical events (e.g., police, fire, children's aid, special constables, emergency management)
- Enforcement, inspection and compliance officers (e.g. bylaw and border inspectors officers)
- Child-care workers
- Licensed foster care workers
- Food manufacturing workers
- Agriculture and farm workers
- Funeral, crematorium and cemetery workers
Appointments for vaccines can be made at www.wevax.ca or by calling 226-773-2200 and we are told that new appointments will be added daily as vaccine availability can be confirmed.
Unifor Local 444 is advocating for auto parts and manufacturing workers to be added to the list of essential workers who should be vaccinated. Our caucus continues to urge the government to vaccinate all essential workers now, before we see more workplace outbreaks and more lives lost. We also continue to call for 14 paid sick days to ensure people have adequate time off if they are sick, as well as paid time off to get vaccinated. You can read more about Unifor Local 444’s call here.
People without a health card are eligible for the vaccine, including people with temporary status in Canada, such as refugee claimants who have health coverage through the Interim Federal Health Program, international students who don’t have OHIP coverage, and people without status in Canada. Eligibility for the vaccine is based on a person’s age, where they live, and what type of work they do. For people who don’t have an Ontario Health Card they should contact the need to contact WECHU’s booking hotline at 226-773-2200.
Health Canada has said that the Pfizer vaccine has been approved to kids as young as 12 years old, following a trial of more than 2,220 youths in that age group in the United States. The Pfizer vaccine is the first to be approved for children in Canada. You can read more here.
LONG-TERM CARE HOMES
Some welcome news for all the constituents and residents of long term care and retirement homes who have reached out to us about the effects of prolonged isolation from loved ones. Long-term care residents in Windsor-Essex will soon be allowed to hug loved ones, socialize, and dine together, following direction from the province. Dr. Ahmed has said that it is important we continue to follow public health guidelines, and that the loosening of these restrictions is contingent on the resident being fully vaccinated. If they are, close physical contact will be permitted between residents and their caregivers, and the province has said that once the stay-at-home order is lifted, some temporary outings will be permitted for fully immunized residents. The new rules are only for facilities where 85 per cent of residents and 75 per cent of staff are fully vaccinated. You can read more here.
Our caucus continues to call for an end to for-profit long-term care, after new revelations show that some for-profit companies paid out bonuses to executives for 2020. After the horrible conditions that our loved ones were left in during the pandemic, we need to put an end to for-profit care of seniors. We should be investing every dollar into the quality of care and quality of live for our precious parents and grandparents, not shoveling public dollars into private companies for CEOs and shareholders.
LOCAL JOBS FOR YOUTHS
The federal government announced today that they are investing $2.2 million to create 532 jobs in Windsor-Essex across 96 local organizations, including the City of Windsor, the Town of Tecumseh, and hundreds of other organizations in the arts, bookstores, medical, and skilled trades and not-for-profit sectors. Opportunities for youth are available at www.jobbank.gc.ca/youth
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.