News Release: March 18 Public Health Updates Related to Coronavirus (COVID-19)
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Wednesday, March 18, 2020 | 10:00 a.m. | Windsor-Essex County
The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit continues to work with the Ministry of Health, local health care providers, and municipal partners to monitor and coordinate the response to COVID-19 as the situation evolves in the province and the community. Protecting the health and wellbeing of the residents of Windsor and Essex County remains our top priority.
- To date, we have 0 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Windsor-Essex.
- Overall, 164 individuals have been tested for COVID-19; and 103 tests are pending.
- There are 597 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Canada and 189 cases in Ontario, with one death
***These numbers are as of March 18, 8:30 am
An initial COVID-19 Self Assessment Tool has been posted to the Ontario Government site. Individuals who suspect they have COVID-19 can consult this tool to determine whether and how to seek further care.
What is happening locally?
Compliance with Closures
Yesterday the provincial government declared a state of emergency in the province of Ontario and issued orders under the Emergency Act for the closures of a number of establishment most notably bars, restaurants and nightclubs, excluding takeout and delivery services. The Windsor-Essex County Health unit officers were out yesterday to investigate the level of compliance with the order, focusing first on high-risk establishments for St. Patrick’s Day such as bars and nightclubs. As a result, several area businesses were issued a section 22 order under the Health Promotion and Protection Act (HPPA).
The health unit staff have responded to hundreds of emails and phone calls with questions from employees and employers regarding the recommendations for social distancing and travel related self-isolation.
The current recommendation from all levels of government including our local Medical Officer of Health is to avoid all non-essential travel outside of Canada. Essential travel would be that related to employment where work from home is not an option. All workplaces must put in appropriate screening practices and protocols for workers returning from travel outside of Canada to exclude them from work for 14 days upon their return. Employees must do their part to identify their travel and stay home. Employees concerned that fellow workers are returning to work and not following current guidance should consult with the organizations human resource department or internal occupational health and safety committee.
Current Provincial Guidance & Restrictions
The province is providing guidance, recommendations and restrictions on a regular basis to public health. As of March 18th, 2020, under the provincial Emergency Act the following orders are in place until March 31st:
- Anyone traveling outside of Canada should self-isolate for 14 days upon return. If symptoms develop during self-isolation, including fever and/or cough call public health at 519-258-2146 ext. 1420.
- Healthcare workers and/or other essential workers are asked to self-monitor for any symptoms
- Closure of all licenced daycares
- Closure of all public schools (Until April 6th)
- Closure of all public libraries
- Closure of all recreational facilities with indoor programming
- Closure of all private schools as defined in the Education Act
Closure of all churches and other faith settings*
- Closure of all Theatres and movie theatres
- Closure of all concert venues
- Closure of all Casinos (until further notice)
- Closure of all bars, nightclubs and restaurants, with the exception of restaurants that can shift to takeout/delivery mechanisms
*Additionally, all organized public events of over 50 people are prohibited, including parades, events and communal services within places of worship.
As well Dr. Williams, Chief Medical Officer of Health of Ontario strongly recommendations:
- Long Term Care, Retirement Facilities, Hospice, and residential care facilities only permit essential visitors and actively screen visitors for symptoms and travel history, excluding entry if failed screening
- University, Colleges and workplaces consider virtual options
- Suspend all non-essential travel outside of Canada
- Self-isolate for 14 days after travel outside of Canada, unless essential worker self-monitor if asymptomatic and report to employer
- Practice social distancing (2m) where feasible
Current recommendations from Dr. Wajid Ahmed, Medical Officer of Health
Dr. Wajid Ahmed supports all of the recommendations and restrictions provided by the Government of Ontario for the City of Windsor and County of Essex. As well Dr. Ahmed recommends:
- Essential workers must report travel outside of Canada to their employer and self-monitor if asymptomatic, including daily temperature reading.
- Seniors and high risk individuals should avoid any non-essential trips and stay home as much as possible
- Commuters that cross to Detroit for work purposes should consider work from home options with their employer where possible and regularly self-monitor for any symptoms including taking their temperature.
- Physicians should screen clients over the phone and refer as appropriate.
- Create an emergency preparedness plan to ensure you have what you need in case of self-isolation.
- Wash hands with soap & water thoroughly and often.
- Cough or sneeze into your sleeve or a tissue. Dispose of tissue immediately and wash your hands.
- Keep surfaces clean and disinfected.
- Stay home when you are sick; call your health care provider for advice and take the online self assessment tool for COVID-19
“I am pleased to see the strong leadership from our province to put the health and wellbeing of Ontarians first. Strong leadership and collaboration is what is needed now, we all have a role to play. It is my sincerest hope that we all rise to this challenge and heed the guidance and recommendations set before us by our experts and leaders,” says Dr. Wajid Ahmed, Medical Officer of Health.
The WECHU encourages the public to follow credible sources for information about COVID-19. The WECHU monitors and updates our website daily. For up to date facts visit www.wechu.org/coronavirus.