The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit has announced 20 new cases of COVID-19 today. Of the new cases, 13 are close contact with a previously confirmed case, two related to travel outside of North America, and five remain under investigation. Our region now has 113 active cases with 67 of those new cases from the last four days. There are 2,943 total confirmed cases since the pandemic began in Windsor-Essex, while 2,754 of those are listed as resolved and there have been 76 deaths. Across the province there were 1,242 new cases reported today, bringing the 7-day average to 1,106 cases, which is a new record high. On Saturday, Ontario reported 1,132 new cases and on Sunday 1,328.
A number of COVID-19 cases are being reported in schools. The Windsor Essex Catholic District School Board is reporting a staff member tested positive for COVID-19 at St. Louis Catholic Elementary School in Leamington and 22 students were dismissed from St. Joseph’s Catholic High School today at the direction of the health unit due to high risk exposure to COVID-19. The Greater Essex County District School Board has reported an individual at Talbot Trail Elementary School tested positive. The health unit is contacting any individuals, both students and staff, who may have been affected and will provide directions for them to follow. The school boards have advised parents to continue to monitor their children for symptoms of COVID-19 each morning and to keep them at home and call their healthcare provider for further direction if they are ill.
Five nursing students currently taking their placement at the Windsor Regional Hospital have tested positive for COVID-19. Windsor Regional Hospital has recommended testing for a total of 28 individuals - 15 staff members and 13 patients - who were identified as having direct contact with the students who tested positive for COVID-19. Subsequently, WRH has suspended visitation to floors 7W and 6E at the Ouellette Campus and 6N and 8N at the Met Campus until the issue is cleared. The placement program will be suspended for two weeks while they ensure there aren’t any additional outbreaks. All five cases were contracted in the community.
The provincial government has initiated a program to help long-term care homes by training and deploying interested Ontarians as Resident Support Aides to long-term care homes during the COVID-19 pandemic. Ontarians can access the program through the Ontario Matching Portal and will be screened, trained and matched with a home. According to the government’s media release, this program is seeking individuals “interested in new opportunities – specifically those who are unemployed or have been displaced from the retail and hospital industries or administrative roles as well as students in education programs.” More information is available here.
Today, pharmaceutical company Pfizer said an early analysis of their COVID-19 vaccine trial suggested the vaccine was more than 90 per percent effective if preventing the disease among trial participants. The Prime Minister said this news is encouraging, and if all goes well, could be available to Canadians sometime over the first three months of 2021 but stressed that Canadians should continue to follow the advice of medical experts in prevention. Canada has already secured 20 million doses of the two-dose vaccine. You can read more on that here.
Please continue to practice social distancing, wear a mask or face covering in public, and wash your hands often.