The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit is reporting an additional 55 cases of COVID-19 today. Of the new cases, 18 are residents of a long-term care facility, 13 are from close contact of a confirmed case, five are workers in the agri-farm sector, one is a local health care worker, one is travel related, one is community acquired, and 16 are still under investigation. There are currently 315 active cases in our region, bringing the total number to 3,381, with 2,989 resolved cases and 77 deaths. Across the province today there were 1,009 new cases confirmed, an artificially low daily total that is the result of a data error. On Monday there were 1,589 cases, on Sunday, 1,534 cases, and on Saturday 1,588 cases.
Six more cases of COVID-19 were reported today at schools within the Greater Essex County District School Board. There was a single case at Vincent Massey Secondary School, a single case at Sandwich Secondary School, a single case at Bellewood Public School, two cases at Tecumseh Vista and an additional case at Riverside Secondary School. All of these schools remain open and the health unit is working to contact all who might be infected. The cases are considered high risk. The health unit is reminding parents to monitor their children for symptoms of COVID-19 each morning before they leave for school and to keep them home if they appear ill.
Today in question period, my colleague, MPP Lisa Gretzky, asked the Education Minister about the COVID-19 outbreak at F.W. Begley Public School. There have been 39 students and staff members at the school who have tested positive for COVID-19. The provincial government has failed to provide the funding and resources that schools in Windsor and across Ontario need to keep students and education workers safe in classrooms. For months now, we have been calling for months on the government to cap class sizes and implement necessary screening, testing and tracing so that parents can work and kids can learn safely.
The local health unit has confirmed another case of COVID-19 at the University of Windsor in a member of the campus community. The individual is self-isolating and there is no additional risk to students and staff. The health unit has lifted its outbreak status for a residence building at the University of Windsor and it can go back to its regular operation.
Our Caucus is calling for the provincial government to reverse a directive from the Ministry of Health that tells hospitals to stop paying frontline health care workers who self-report they are exposed to COVID-19 and are forced to go into isolation. We have called on the Minister of Health to reverse this disgraceful directive, and ensure that front-line health care workers in Ontario’s hospitals receive their full pay when they are mandated by the employer to self-isolate due to COVID-19.
The provincial government announced that they are starting to deploy rapid COVID-19 tests to hospitals, long-term care homes and regions of high-transmission. The provincial government has received roughly 98,000 ID NOW rapid tests and 1.2 million Panbio rapid antigen tests so far. Both tests can provide results in under 20 minutes. You can read more here.
The Prime Minister announced that the Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) has been extended to June 2021. The deadline to apply is whichever is sooner of January 31, 2021 or 180 days after the end of the claim period. More information is available here.
The federal government announced today that they have secured 26,000 doses of a therapeutic drug from AbCellera Biologics that treats COVID-19.
Please continue to wear a face mask when out in public, practice physical distancing of two metres, and wash your hands often.