The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit reported 36 new cases of COVID-19 today with 18 of those coming from close contact with a confirmed case, one from a local health care worker, four considered community acquired, two travel related to the United States, and 12 remaining under investigation. Our region now has a total of 3,326 confirmed cases, with 2,939 cases resolved, 15 people in the hospital, four in the ICU, and 77 deaths. The province reported 1,589 new cases today, 1,534 cases on Sunday, and 1,588 cases on Saturday.
In order to adhere to the public health instructions set out by Dr. Ahmed and the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit, our office remains open by appointment only, and we are only booking essential visits. We are not taking any walk-ins at this time. If you would like to book an appointment, please call us at 519-251-5199 or email us at [email protected].
Today in Question Period, our caucus asked why no additional measures have been announced to protect students and staff as we face the second wave of the pandemic. There are now 39 cases of COVID-19 at Frank W. Begley Public School, making this the largest COVID-19 school outbreak in the province, and the health unit has said that nearly 300 students have been tested. The school is currently closed. W.J. Langlois Catholic Elementary School is also closed as a result of a COVID-19 outbreak. At Riverside Secondary School, one individual has tested positive for COVID-19. The school board has contacted those affected and are following the direction of the health unit. Our caucus continues to call for more a cap on class sizes, hiring more teachers and staff, and funding for upgrades in our schools for things such as infection control.
Our health critic, MPP France Gelinas, questioned the Minister of Health this morning regarding the government’s pandemic pay promise, which has yet to materialize. At the end of September this year, it was announced that PSWs working in the Ontario health care system would receive a $3 pandemic pay increase until the end of March 2021. Many PWSs have reached out to say that they have yet to see this support. Long-term care operators have also connected with our caucus to say that they have not received any of the money that the government promised for PSWs. The minister indicated that people should be receiving the monies imminently but did not offer a firm date.
Erie Shores HealthCare has restricted visitors in response to an increase in the number of patients showing up to its emergency room and assessment centre with COVID-19 symptoms. To align with pandemic measures under the Orange-Restrict status in Windsor-Essex, only one essential visitor will be allowed for inpatients during one of the three periods from 10am-12pm, 2pm-4pm, and 6pm-8pm each day.
The province has appointed the former head of the Canadian Armed Forces Gen. Rick Hillier to lead a new task force that will be responsible for overseeing the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine in the province. The vaccine is expected to start rolling out in the first few months of 2021, and it is expected that Ontario’s most vulnerable and healthcare workers will be among the first to receive it. The province urged people to continue to follow public health guidelines. You can read more here.
Businesses can start applying today for the new federal commercial rent-relief program, the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS). The new program doesn’t rely on landlords to apply and will cover up to 65 per cent of rent or commercial mortgage interest on a sliding scale based on revenue declines, with an extra 25 per cent available to the hardest-hit firms. More information is available here.
An antibody therapy, bamlanivimab, for COVID-19 has been greenlit for emergency use by Health Canada to treat patients ages 12 and up with mild to moderate COVID-19 infections. The treatment is for those at risk of progressing to severe COVID-19 symptoms or hospitalization, not for patients who are already hospitalized or require oxygen. You can read more here.
Please continue to wear a mask or face covering when out in public, practice physical distancing, and wash your hands often.