The trend of essential pandemic indicators shows that Ontario remains on track to reduce the impact of COVID-19 enough that we can look forward to a positive future. Impressive vaccination efforts by the Eastern Ontario Health Unit have provided at least one dose to 90 percent of the eligible population, 86 percent of whom received a second shot. We still have work to do in specific postal code areas of Cornwall where second dose vaccination is barely scratching 70 percent. The under-vaccinated continue to use valuable hospital resources, including ICU beds, and force hospitals to cancel surgeries. Data shows that those without one dose are eight times more likely to contract the virus, while those over 60 are 15 times more likely to be hospitalized. If you haven’t received your two doses, you can find local times and locations on the EOHU’s website at www.EOHU.ca or by calling 1-800-267-7120. Every shot could help save a life.
Starting October 25, we put into action the new Plan to Safely Reopen Ontario and Manage COVID-19 over the long term. Our first step includes higher capacity limits for dining out, bars, sports and recreational venues, gyms, and fitness centres where trainers provide instruction, casinos, bingo halls, and gaming outlets. Find more information at https://www.ontario.ca/page/reopening-ontario. The new proof of vaccination certificate and official QR code make it easier for the vaccinated to enjoy these premises and for businesses to serve you. You can download it at https://covid19.ontariohealth.ca/, visit a Service Ontario centre, or call 1-833-943-3900. We look to lift more restrictions and limits as we continue to make progress.
The Government continues to prioritize the improvement of our long-term care system. As a result, family members should expect the best possible care for their parents and loved ones. Minister of Long-Term Care Rod Phillips announced the Government would invest $4.9 billion to hire more than 27,000 long-term staff over four years. A typical 160-bed home will add 43 nurses and PSWs, ensuring that each resident will receive an average of over four and a half hours of care daily, a more than 40 percent increase since taking over Government. Minister Phillips followed up with a commitment to increase long-term care facility inspections by pledging to hire 193 new inspectors and to launch a proactive inspections program that includes visits without notice.
The Government continues to support our local municipalities, which have asked for stable and predictable funding. We announced the eight municipal governments will receive $9,966,700, broken down as follows: City of Cornwall, $4,666,100; South Dundas, $1,223,200; South Glengarry, $998,600; North Dundas, $960,700; South Stormont, $933,000; United Counties of Stormont-Dundas-Glengarry, $699,000; North Stormont, $486,100; and North Glengarry $2,095,200. This funding will be help municipalities provide infrastructure and services, including social services and housing, to residents.
The Ontario Legislature started its fall session on October 4 with the Speech from the Throne. The Lt. Governor laid out the Government’s plan to defeat COVID-19 and to complete the reopening of Ontario. Our strategy of cutting red tape and reducing the cost of doing business increases investment and attracts new industry and good-paying jobs.
Enjoy a safe and happy Halloween by following public health guidelines.
MPP for Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry