Good evening everyone,
There have been eight new cases of COVID-19 reported in Windsor-Essex today. Of the eight cases, three are a result of close contact with someone with a confirmed case of the virus, one is a result of community spread, and the remaining four are under investigation. The region has 37 active cases, and the new local total is 2,688 confirmed cases. Ontario reported 583 new cases of COVID-19 today, as compared to 615 cases on Monday and 548 cases yesterday.
The Government is sending Ontarians’ COVID-19 swabs to an American company so incompetent it was fired by the State of Florida after losing the results of 75,000 of that state’s test results. Meanwhile, they are allowing corporations that charge hundreds of dollars for a test to use Ontario’s public labs. There’s unused lab capacity in Ontario that the Government refuses to pay to unlock. Dr. Tony Mazzulli, who oversees the lab at Mount Sinai, told the Toronto Star that his lab could handle thousands more tests everyday if they had the funding to remove a wall and bring testing machines up from storage. At the same time, the government’s head of Ontario Health, Matthew Anderson, confirmed Tuesday that when someone pays to jump to the front of the queue and get a private test, their samples go straight to the public lab. This leaves everyday folks waiting and waiting. It’s time for this government to stop pinching pennies and get public health and public labs the funding they need to increase their capacity right now, before this crisis gets any worse.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, our caucus has been calling on the Government to implement a stand-alone emergency 75 per cent commercial rent subsidy, up to $10,000 per month, and a utility payment freeze for small and medium-sized businesses, as well as a safe re-opening and remote-work set up fund. The Government has now announced their “Main Street Recovery Plan” which includes the following measures:
- A one-time grant of up to $1,000 for eligible main street small businesses — in retail, food and accommodations, and other service sectors — with two to nine employees to help offset the unexpected costs of personal protective equipment (PPE);
- Ontario's Small Business COVID-19 Recovery Network, which links 47 Small Business Enterprise Centres across the province as places where small businesses can access tailored advice and information on local, provincial and federal programs;
- Digital Main Street Squads to help small businesses grow online;
- Mental health supports for families, frontline workers, young people, children, and Indigenous communities;
- Ontario's Small Business Recovery Webpage to provide single window access to small business supports.
It was reported that parents are pulling their kids out of in-person school en masse, with at least 7,000 students being pulled out in the TDSB alone, and 374 schools on track to lose teachers. For months now, we have been calling on the Government to cap class sizes at 15 students, and they have held back on direly needed funding for smaller classes. Parents are now left scrambling to keep their children safe in the face of a government plan that fails to protect students and staff.
The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit has updated their order for migrant workers and their employers. Migrant workers are still required to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival into Canada and work exclusively at one farm. Employers are now required to conduct, at minimum, daily screening for symptoms and keep an exposure record that the health unit could request at any time.
Please continue to wear a mask when physical distancing is not possible, wash your hands frequently, and practice physical distancing of 2 metres apart with those outside your household.