The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit has announced seven new cases of COVID-19 today. Of the cases announced, two involve close contact with someone with the virus, one case is at a school, one involves a healthcare worker, one is in a retirement home, one is in the community, and one remains under investigation. Our region now has 2,631 confirmed cases of COVID-19, 2,454 cases listed as resolved, and 76 deaths.
The one confirmed case in a school was reported at Kingsville District High School. Our Caucus has been calling on the government to invest in more teachers and classrooms to ensure kids returning to school are safe and can properly social distance. We have also called on more school buses and upgrades to schools for adequate infection control. Last week our caucus introduced a motion to cap all class sizes at 15 students, however the government has failed to make any of these necessary investments and voted down our motion unanimously.
Students at St. Clair College returned to classes today, though the majority of classes will be online due to COVID-19. Anyone who requires in-class accreditation will be screened, must wear a mask, and follow clearly marked physical distancing instructions throughout campus.
The City of Windsor is still waiting for direction from the federal government on whether or not it will take over management of the Migrant Farm Workers Isolation Centre. Funding is scheduled to run out at the end of September. You can read more here.
The Medical Officer of Health believes that fines and charges will be laid immediately against someone who breaks the new restrictions for private and unmonitored social gatherings in Ontario. The provincial government lowered the number of people who can gather indoors to 10 and outdoors to 25. The province said a minimum fine of $10,000 can be issued for organizers of events that exceed these numbers and guests can be fined up to $750.
With COVID-19 cases on the rise and a second-wave plan from the government months overdue, our Caucus today demanded to know why the provincial government has made no changes in vulnerable long-term care homes, where staffing levels have plunged to all-time lows. A pair of Globe and Mail reports reveal that the provincial government has been sitting on expert recommendations for boosting staffing and improving infection prevention and control in long-term care homes since June – taking no action. Now COVID-19 has come roaring back, again claiming lives in long-term care homes, while the staffing levels that were dangerously low during the first wave of COVID-19 have hit rock bottom. We must do everything we can to spare other families the pain of mourning their parent or grandparent, and the anguish of going through weeks or months of separation during an outbreak, not knowing whether their loved one is getting the help they need with the basics, let alone protection from the virus. Our Caucus has been calling for immediate fixes to long-term care for months now, like giving personal support workers better pay and full-time hours, and hiring many, many more of them. It’s long past time that these measures were implemented as part of a second wave plan.
With the uptick in COVID-19 cases, I want to remind everyone that the COVID Alert app is available and that contract tracing can help us reopen more safely and quickly. The app can be downloaded for free from app stores on your phones, and only takes a few seconds to set up. Unlike other apps, the COVID Alert app is anonymous and has no way of knowing your location, name, address, contacts, or health information.
Please continue to practice social distancing, wear a mask in public, and wash your hands often.