One case of COVID-19 was reported today in Windsor-Essex, which is from close contact with a confirmed case. This brings up the local total of cases to 2,781 with 30 active cases. Ontario reported 826 new cases of COVID-19 today, as compared to 841 cases yesterday, 719 new cases on Wednesday, 821 cases on Tuesday, and 704 cases on Monday. The Premier hinted that more regions, specifically Halton and Durham, could move into the modified Stage 2 next week if conditions don’t improve.
We continue to hear from constituents about the long delays for COVID-19 testing and how that’s leading to a lack of access to loved ones in long-term care. We have brought your concerns forward to the Ministry of Health and are awaiting a reply. We are also hearing complaints of long-term care homes requiring loved ones to take a significant amount of time for a mandatory essential caregiver course before they’re granted access to their family members. Some people have said that this course is up to 5 hours long. We’ve heard that if you refuse to take the course, you’re denied access to the home. At the same time, I’m hoping to speak against legislation next week that insulates long-term care homes from being held responsible for the atrocities we’ve seen. It’s time to put residents’ needs before profit and stop the isolation.
An interim report from the long-term care commission reveals the sickening fact that the provincial government completely ignored the people in long-term care as the COVID-19 virus swept in. The commission "heard that long-term care homes were forgotten in the initial provincial plans to control the spread of COVID-19 until residents started dying…" Chronic understaffing leading to resident neglect, has been hurting people for years — and has only gotten worse as for-profit corporations cut more corners to pocket bigger profits over the last two decades. The commission’s interim recommendations include increasing staffing and mandating at least four hours of hands-on care for residents — something our caucus has been fighting for, for years. We are urging the provincial government to act now to implement every single one of the long-term care commission’s interim recommendations.
The federal government announced today that they have signed a deal for the first Made-in-Canada COVID-19 vaccine. They expect it will be rolled out in 2021, depending on how the safety trials go. The federal government signed the deal with Medicago for 76 million doses, in addition to other deals previously negotiated for a vaccine.
I hope everyone enjoys their weekend! Please continue to stay safe by washing your hands frequently, practicing physical distancing of 2 metres apart, and wearing a mask when physical distancing is not possible and where otherwise required.