Community News Update - February 7, 2022

Dear Community,

This Monday, Ontario is reporting its lowest number of COVID-19 deaths in nearly a month, with 11 new deaths. Last Monday, the number of COVID-related deaths was 32. There was also a decrease in hospitalizations, with 2155 people hospitalized due to COVID-19 today, while at this time last week, that number stood at 2983.

Vaccines have had a big role to play in driving those numbers down. As of Sunday, 89% of Ontarians aged five and older had received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, 84% had received two doses and 47% had received a booster shot. We still have a long way to go for the booster shot, so I am here asking you (yet again!) to get your third dose if you have not done so.

Getting vaccinated is still the best way to avoid hospitalization and protect the most vulnerable in our communities.

This weekend, I participated in the Ontario NDP Convention, where we discussed crucial issues that we, as a Party, will continue to work on – including, but not limited to, a $20 minimum wage and $10-per-day child care, paid sick days, a comprehensive platform to make homes more affordable, a plan to build a fully public and community-based home care and long-term care system and Ontario’s strongest-ever climate plan.

At the convention, our delegates re-affirmed Andrea Horwath’s leadership for the next provincial election with 85% support.

Today is the last day of Eating Disorders Awareness Week. Tragically, we have seen a rise in eating disorders among Ontario youth during the pandemic. According to the CBC, Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children reported a 35% annual increase in admissions to their eating disorder program in the last year, while a children’s hospital in Hamilton said it’s seen a 90% increase in referrals to their EDs program.

If you or a loved one is in need of support, consider signing up to the Sheena’s Place services. They offer professionally facilitated group support for free, with no referral or diagnosis needed. They also host regular trainings & workshops to raise awareness and reduce the stigma on eating disorders. They do absolutely fantastic work – and I would encourage everyone to check them out.

I will be speaking (remotely) at Ryerson University tonight, thanks to their Tri-Mentoring Program. If you are a student or part of Ryerson’s staff, join us for a screening of Body Politics and a discussion about body empowerment and body discrimination at 7 pm.

Finally, we are of course celebrating Black History Month right now, and today I re-share my call to the Ministry of Education for a mandatory Black history curriculum in our schools from kindergarten to grade 12. We must acknowledge that Black history is not only important in February – but all year round.

In Solidarity,

Jill Andrew

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