News Release: June 1st Public Health Updates Related to Coronavirus (COVID-19)
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Monday, June 1st, 2020 | 1 p.m. | Windsor-Essex County
The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit (WECHU) 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 970 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Windsor-Essex, 496 cases are resolved, and there are 65 deaths.
- Overall, 16,889 individuals have been tested for COVID-19; and 455 tests are pending (these numbers do not include the random testing).
- There are 91,351 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Canada and 28,263 cases in Ontario, with 2,276 deaths.
* Local numbers are as of May 31, 8:00 p.m.
** provincial and national numbers are as of June 1, 11:00 a.m.
Individuals who suspect they have COVID-19 or are wondering if they should be tested should consult the COVID-19 Population Health Navigator for Windsor-Essex. Already tested? You can now check your results online.
If you need further assistance, call TeleHealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000 or your health care provider. You can also call the WECHU at 519-258-2146 extension 1420.
What is happening locally?
The WECHU is reporting twenty (20) additional cases of COVID-19 since Friday, May 29th. The WECHU reported six cases Saturday, May 30th, twelve cases May 31st and two today, June 1st. In addition, the WECHU is reporting two deaths related to COVID-19. A female in her 80’s and a resident of a long-term care facility and a male in his thirties passed away. The male, a migrant farm worker, passed away in hospital. The WECHU is monitoring ongoing outbreaks in 2 long-term care and retirement homes including Chartwell Royal Oak Long-Term Care Residence and Heron Terrace LTC. For more information regarding outbreaks for COVID-19 visit our website under local updates.
“It is with deep regret that I share the news of the loss of these two individuals. I share my sympathies with the families during this very difficult time,” says Dr. Ahmed, Medical Officer of Health.
Random Drive Thru Testing
Friday, May 29th the WECHU launched a local random COVID-19 testing strategy in collaboration with Essex-Windsor Emergency Medical Services (EWEMS) and in collaboration with the City of Windsor and Windsor Police. Located at SilverCity in Windsor, teams tested 385 residents Friday, 680 Saturday, and 743 Sunday for 1,808 for the weekend. Drive thru testing will continue Tuesday at the Essex Arena from 9am to 5pm. Any resident of Windsor-Essex 12 years of age or older is eligible for testing. Further locations will be identified for other areas of the county this week. It is important that any person wanting to be tested be prepared with their health card number and up to date contact information.
As well last week the provincial government announced their enhanced testing strategy for Ontario: Protecting Ontarians Through Enhanced Testing. This strategy include proactive testing across high-risk settings such as long-term care and retirement homes, congregate living settings, and for essential workplaces. This new strategy focuses public health efforts on outbreak management and case and contact management.
Migrant Farms and COVID-19
The Windsor-Essex region is home to large agricultural sector including a number of migrant farms, employing more than 8,000 temporary foreign workers. Our local agricultural sector is an essential service. On March 20th, the federal government permitted the entry of Temporary Foreign Workers (TFWs) to Canada to support local farmers and agri-business. Both play a critical role in ensuring that Ontarians have access to fresh fruits and vegetables especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The WECHU works in collaboration with municipalities, local health care partners, the Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers, Service Canada, and local farm operators to ensure that all health and safety precautions and measures are followed. As well the WECHU issued a class action order under section 22 of the Health Protection and Promotion Act for all owners/operators of agricultural farms in Windsor-Essex who:
- Employ migrant farm workers in any capacity;
- Participate in the federal Temporary Foreign Worker program (TFW); and
- Operate any model of seasonal housing accommodations.
This order directs businesses to ensure that workers are limited to one workplace and/or premise, ensure contact information for all employees are up to date and available to the health unit and that all directions provided to the business by the WECHU including those for self-isolation are followed explicitly.
To date, of the 970 confirmed cases of COVID-19 locally, 175 (approx. 18%) have been among farm workers representing 17 farms. These numbers include both migrant workers and community workers. The WECHU Infectious Disease department works closely with each individual to conduct contact tracing, provide direction and guidance to both employees and employers where appropriate. To date, 47 individuals of the 175 have recovered, 1 has died and 127 remain in self-isolation.
For more information related to Temporary Foreign Workers, visit wechu.org/cv/tempworkers or call the Environmental Health Department at 519-258-2146 extension 4475.
The Provincial government has extended order under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act to June 9th. These orders include restrictions on social gatherings for more than five persons (not including members of the same household), and continued closure of restaurants and bars (except take out and delivery) and outdoor playgrounds, play structures and equipment.
For a full list of current recommendations, guidelines and restrictions, please visit the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit website.
For questions related to closures and openings of businesses, call the Stop the Spread information line at 1-888-444-3659 or visit Ontario.ca/page/stopping-spread-covid-19.
To protect yourself from COVID-19:
- Wash your hands regularly and thoroughly;
- Cough or sneeze into your sleeve or a tissue;
- Keep surfaces clean and disinfected;
- Stay home unless it is essential to go out and stay home when you are sick;
- Practice physical distancing (2 Metres).
The Ontario Government is asking all Ontarians to stay home unless absolutely necessary for essential reasons, such as accessing health care services, shopping for groceries, picking up medication, walking pets when required, or supporting vulnerable community members with meeting essential needs. If you must leave your home, stay at least two (2) meters apart from others.
The WECHU encourages the public to follow credible sources for information about COVID-19. The WECHU monitors and updates our website daily, including case counts for Windsor and Essex County. For up-to-date facts visit www.wechu.org.
Visit Ontario’s website to learn more about how the province continues to protect Ontarians from COVID-19.