The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit is reporting 11 new COVID-19 cases today, while Toronto reported 108, Peel reported 55, Hamilton reported 23, and Middlesex-London reported 14. Yesterday, our region had 28 cases, and on Sunday there were 40 cases. Of the new cases reported today, two are from close contact with another confirmed case, two are considered community spread, one is outbreak related, and six are under investigation. There are now 238 active cases in the community, with 136 of those being variants of concern cases. There are 13 workplace outbreaks, five school outbreaks, two community outbreaks, and two outbreaks and long-term care. There are now a total of 19,853 cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began and 456 deaths related to the virus. There are 11 confirmed cases in the hospital, with eight in the ICU. Locally, 617,145 doses of the vaccine have been administered, with 83.6 per cent of individuals over 12 having received one dose, and 78 per cent of individuals over 12 having received both doses. Across the province today there were 429 cases of COVID-19. Yesterday there were 511 cases, and on Sunday there were 580 cases.
ADVOCATING FOR YOU IN THE LEGISLATURE
Today, our caucus introduced our bill which would create Safety Zones around places like hospitals, schools, and small businesses to protect Ontarians from anti-public health harassment. Our bill makes targeted harassment of people and businesses upholding public health rules in Safety Zones a provincial offence, punishable by a fine of up to $25,000. The bill is broad and could cover hospitals, clinics, vaccine clinics, schools, childcare centres, long-term care homes, small businesses and anywhere else anti-public health protestors target vulnerable people instead of decision makers.
During Question Period this morning, we also called on the government to hire more nurses and teachers, and to resume negotiations with the optometrists who have had to suspend their OHIP-covered eye exams for people under 19 and over 65 years of age. The provincial government needs a plan to relieve nurses who are overworked, underpaid, and exhausted from filling a staffing shortage magnified by COVID-19. They need to put more caring adults into schools and make class sizes smaller to keep kids safe and give them extra support after a difficult year. And they need to get back to the table with optometrists so people can get the eye care they need. Instead, the provincial government is slashing $800 million from education and dramatically scaling back the number of public health units after withholding billions in COVID-fighting funds. We should be investing in rebuilding Ontario’s health care, including eye care, and education systems.
The University of Windsor will be hosting two vaccination clinics for anyone looking for their first or second dose. The clinics will run from 10am to 3pm on Thursday October 7 and Friday October 8 at the Faculty of Education Parking Lot near the corner of University and California avenues. No health cards are required.
The local health unit will be holding pop-up vaccination clinics at the following locations. No appointment required:
- Ongoing until October 8 at the parking lot at 33 Princess St in Leamington – open 7 days a week from 11am to 7pm
- October 6 at the Windsor-Essex Community Health Centre (Sandwich) 3325 College Ave – from 10am to 3pm
COVID-19 IN SCHOOLS
The provincial government will be implementing a rapid COVID-19 testing program for schools in areas of the province with high rates of transmission. The Chief Medical Officer of Health says the decision to implement the program will be up to local medical officers of health and parents will be able to choose if their kids participate in the screening. Many parents who have been fighting for rapid testing in schools will be anxiously waiting to see if their schools will be included in the roll out of this strategy. They’re desperate to prevent the kind of disruptions and turmoil their kids went through last year. The provincial government should have used every available tool to keep kids safe and keep schools safely open. Instead, they delayed action until parents were forced to take action themselves and then blocked their efforts by taking the tests away. Ontario families deserve equitable access to rapid testing in schools, and today’s announcement comes far later than it should have. You can read the government’s news release here.
The Greater Essex County District School Board is reporting a new case of COVID-19 at Northwood Public School. The local health unit has notified affected staff and students. The French Catholic school board has reported a COVID-19 outbreak at Georges P. Vanier Catholic Elementary School, where seven cases were detected, and two classes are isolating. Parents are reminded to continue to monitor their kids for symptoms of COVID-19 each morning before school and to keep them home if they are sick.
Up-to-date COVID-19 information on confirmed cases and outbreaks from each school board can be found here:
Windsor Essex Catholic District School Board: https://www.wecdsb.on.ca/about/covid19/outbreaks
Greater Essex County District School Board: https://www.publicboard.ca/News/COVID-19Report/Pages/default.aspx#/=
The Acting Medical Officer of Health for our region has extended the directive that suspended extracurricular school activities indefinitely. The health unit says they are constantly reviewing the local data, but it’s hard to say when the recommendation might be lifted. Over 200 cohorts have already been dismissed at local schools due to COVID-19. You can read more here.
LOCAL COVID-19 EXPOSURE POINTS
The local health unit has updated their website with a list of possible COVID-19 exposure points in the community. You can find that information here.
Please continue to stay safe and follow public health guidelines.