The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit is reporting 39 new COVID-19 cases today. Yesterday there were 40 cases and on Wednesday there were 40 cases. There have been a total of 15,715 cases and 414 COVID-19 related deaths in our region since the beginning of the pandemic. Of the new cases reported today, 13 are from close contact with another confirmed case, eight are considered community spread, one is travel related, and 17 are under investigation. There are currently 366 active cases in our community, with 165 of those being variants of concern. There are eight confirmed cases in the hospital with four in the ICU, 14,935 cases listed as resolved, and 183,695 doses of the vaccine have been administered. Across the province today there were 3,166 new cases reported. Yesterday there were 3,424 cases, and on Wednesday there were 2,941 cases.
Dr. Ahmed reported today that close to half of all adults in Windsor-Essex have been vaccinated against COVID-19. On Monday May 10, the vaccine eligibility is scheduled to expand further in the province, allowing for anyone aged 40+ to make an appointment to get vaccinated at a mass vaccination site. Essential workers who cannot work from home and fall into Group 2 will also become eligible for a vaccine on Monday. These workers include:
- Essential and critical retail workers (including grocery, foodbank and non-clinical pharmacy workers, ServiceOntario workers, ServiceCanada and Passport Canada workers, wholesalers and general goods, restaurant workers, LCBO)
- Workers in manufacturing industries directly involved in supporting the COVID19 response, construction including infrastructure, and other essential businesses and services where facilities are at heightened risk for COVID-19 outbreaks and spread.
- Social workers and other social services staff providing in-person client services (including youth justice workers, OW and ODSP case workers)
- Courts and justice system workers (including probation and parole workers)
- Transportation, warehousing and distribution workers (including public transit workers, taxi drivers, truck drivers supporting essential services, marine and rail cargo and maintenance, highway maintenance)
- Electricity (including workers employed in system operations, generation, transmission, distribution and storage).
- Communications infrastructure workers (including cellular, satellite, landline, internet, public safety radio)
- Water and wastewater management workers
- Financial services workers (bank branch staff)
- Veterinarians and veterinary teams
- Waste management workers
A local doctor will be holding a walk-in vaccination clinic tomorrow, Saturday May 8, for those 18 and over who live in a hot spot postal code. The clinic will be offering the Pfizer vaccine at 2285 Howard Ave starting at 9am and will be open while supplies last. Vaccines are only being offered to those living or working in hot spots who have not yet received their first dose, and proof of residency or employment will be required. The hot spot postal codes are N8X, N8Y, N9A, N9B, N9C, N8H, and N9Y. More information is available here.
The Prime Minster has said he will consider waiving intellectual property rights of vaccine manufacturers to improve access to the vaccine to other countries. He said that while he acknowledged less wealthy countries need more doses quickly, he didn’t endorse a plan to dismantle intellectual protections for vaccines, which could help those countries by boosting vaccine production by local manufacturers. You can read more here.
The Ontario Hospital Association has said that while numbers are getting better for hospitals across the province, we cannot let our guard down and loosen restrictions just yet. There are currently 858 COVID-19 patients in ICUs across the province, which is down from 900 on May 1. Our caucus continues to call on the government to bring in more supports to keep people safe during the third wave of this pandemic which will help curb the spread of the virus and reduce the impact on our hospitals and ICUs. We need to implement 14 paid sick days so that people can stay home if they are sick, paid time off to get vaccinated, and more robust testing in workplaces. You can read more here.
RAPID SCREENING PILOT PROJECT
Some small and medium-sized businesses in Windsor-Essex will be included in a COVID-19 rapid screening initiative. The partnership between the provincial and federal government and the Ontario Chamber of Commerce will provide free rapid antigen tests for employees of small and medium-sized businesses through participating local chambers of commerce. The program will screen for asymptomatic cases of COVID-19 in the workplace that might otherwise be missed. There is no mention of which businesses in our region will be taking part. You can read more here.
RISING UNEMPLOYMENT RATE
New numbers from Statistics Canada show that the unemployment rate in Windsor grew last month to 10.6 per cent in April, up from 9.8 per cent in March. Nationally, the unemployment rate rose to 8.1 per cent, up from 7.5 per cent in March, with the retail sector hit hardest. You can read more here.
This Sunday is Mother’s Day, and while it might be tempting to spend time with Mom, it is important that we continue to follow the advice of health experts and curb the spread of the virus. Dr. Ahmed has asked the public to avoid in person gatherings this Mother’s Day if you do not live in the same household, and instead spend time together virtually.
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.