The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit is reporting 51 new cases of COVID-19 today. Of the new cases, 22 are from close contact with a confirmed positive case, six were community acquired, three are travel related, two are in the agri-farm sector and 16 are still under investigation. There are now 354 active cases in our region bringing our total to 3,507 confirmed cases, 3,075 resolved cases, and 78 deaths. Ontario reported a new record-high 1,855 cases of COVID-19 today. On Thursday, there were 1,478 cases, on Wednesday, 1,373 cases, and on Tuesday there were 1,009 cases.
Windsor-Essex will be moving into the Red-Control level on Monday at 12:01am under Ontario’s COVID-19 pandemic restrictions. I, along with my colleagues MPP Taras Natyshak and MPP Lisa Gretzky, released the following statement in response.
The people of Windsor-Essex have worked incredibly hard to crush the virus and keep our communities safe. But the government continues to refuse to invest to protect our region, and Windsor-Essex families are paying the price. It didn’t have to be this way. This is the provincial government’s responsibility. They lifted public health protections too soon because they didn’t want to spend the money to support businesses, and now the region is paying the price for their failures. They didn’t prepare for the second wave. They didn’t shrink class sizes. They didn’t hire staff and infection control experts for long-term care. They rationed testing and contact tracing instead of investing in more. They didn’t give workers paid sick days. And they didn’t arrange for isolation or quarantining for migrant workers. The government must provide urgent relief for small businesses here in Windsor-Essex before we lose our Main Streets forever, including direct financial supports, stopping insurance gouging and preventing businesses from being denied coverage by their insurers due to COVID-19, and a ban on commercial evictions until the pandemic is over.
A full list of the new restriction can be found here.
The local Medical Officer of Health announced that there is only one face covering order in effect for our region now, and retracted the local face covering order. The more restrictive provincial face covering order remains in effect. The provincial face covering order will continue to be enforced by police and local municipal by-law offers.
The local health unit is reporting a cluster of COVID-19 cases at both Windsor Regional Hospital Ouellette Campus and Hotel Dieu Grace Healthcare. Both hospitals are currently being investigated. At the Ouellette Campus, any admissions to the 7th floor (East and West) are being examined closely and patients cannot be transferred out unless discharged home or for medical necessity (such as the ICU, if a patient’s condition requires critical care). All staff who had contact with this floor between November 18 and today have been notified and are being requested to get tested for COVID-19. Visitation to the 7th floor at the Ouellette Campus has been suspended until further notice. The hospitals will provide an update when more details become available.
Some ServiceOntario locations are now offering appointment booking to help reduce wait times and manage customer flow. In Windsor, the ServiceOntario location at McDougall and University will be offering this service, however it is still strongly encouraged that customers access services available online whenever possible to help reduce the risks associated with COVID-19. For more information, or to book an appointment, please visit the website here.
The LaSalle Police Service announced they are shifting from education to enforcement when it comes to COVID-19 rules and if a violation of the rules has been committed, a full investigation will be launched. You can read more here.
The Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce has called on the federal government for additional support to local area businesses. Currently, the federal government offers up to 65 per cent rent subsidy and recently announced an additional 25 per cent for businesses hardest hit. The Chamber would like to see that 25 per cent be extended to businesses in our area because of our proximity to the border and reliance on international trade, movement of people, and related business opportunities.
Prime Minister Trudeau announced a National Operations Centre for the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines through the Public Health Agency of Canada, with the support of the Canadian Armed Forces. The centre will be led by former NATO commander Dany Fortin, Chief of Staff of Canadian Joint Operations Command, and will be responsible for planning, logistical support, storage, data-sharing and coordination with Indigenous and rural communities.
Please continue to wear a face mask when out in public, continue to practice physical distancing and maintain two metres between you and others, and wash your hands often.