News Release: June 4th Public Health Updates Related to Coronavirus (COVID-19)
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Thursday, June 4th, 2020 | 1:00 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 996 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Windsor-Essex, 566 cases are resolved, and there are 66 deaths.
- There are 93,441 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Canada and 29,403 cases in Ontario, with 2,357 deaths.
* Local numbers are as of June 3, 8:00 p.m.
** provincial and national numbers are as of June 4, 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 fourteen (14) additional cases of COVID-19 and zero (0) deaths for June 4th. 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.
Today June 4th, random drive-thru testing will take place at Libro Centre, 3295 Meloche Road in Amherstburg from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Tomorrow June 5th, random drive-thru testing will take place in Tecumseh at the Zehrs Parking lot in Tecumseh at 400 Manning Rd. To enter testing area, access via Manning Road parking lot entrance. Testing will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
All residents of Windsor-Essex 12 years of age and older are eligible for testing. Individuals should bring their health card and updated contact information.
Reporting of Statistics for COVID-19 and testing
The WECHU has noted considerable confusion and misinformation related to the reporting of statistics for COVID-19 and testing for COVID-19 in recent weeks.
Under the Ontario Public Health Standards (OPHS), public health units are required to conduct surveillance activities. Public health surveillance is the systematic collection, analysis and interpretation of health information for planning and evaluation of programs. The OPHS outlines the assessment and surveillance process as data analysis and interpretation, reporting and knowledge exchange and data access collection and management.
In health units, trained Epidemiologists primarily complete data analysis and interpretation. Epidemiology is a specialized field of scientific study with specific methods and tools. Epidemiologists study disease in populations including frequency, trends, and determinants as well as outbreak management and response. This information is used to provide recommendations for interventions and programs to prevent and mitigate risk. The WECHU has three epidemiologists working seven days a week to collect, analyze, interpret and report information in a timely manner.
Public health units are required to share information for knowledge exchange purposes with residents and community stakeholders. Information shared must not violate any legislation such as the Personal Health Information Protection Act and must not be identifiable.
During COVID-19 the WECHU has consistently reported daily information to the public including:
- The number of positive cases
- Number of resolved cases
- Age distribution of cases
- Sex of cases
- Exposure type
- Status of cases
- Number of cases in long-term care and retirement homes
- Number of cases in health care workers
- Total number of outbreaks
Additionally, as information and available data increases the WECHU shares the following information during weekly Epidemiological summaries:
- Epidemic curves to display cases over time
- Incidence rate compared to the province
- Percent positivity
- Percent of positive cases reported to the WECHU and investigated within one day (100%)
- Underlying chronic conditions of cases
- Most commonly reported symptoms
- Geography of cases by municipality
- Hospitalizations & ICU trends over time
- Case fatality rate
- Age & sex breakdown of deaths
- Cumulative doubling time
- Day over day doubling time
- The mean Reproductive number
The amount of data and breakdown of data reported by the WECHU is consistent with other health units across the province and exceeds the reporting of many including most health units in the southwest region. As well the WECHU continues to monitor and report disease trends, substance use related data, mosquito surveillance data and other required public health reporting which are made available on our website.
Testing for COVID-19
Currently there is no antibody testing for COVID-19 in Windsor-Essex. COVID-19 testing is a point in time test. A person can test negative and then become exposed the next day and test positive later. Testing does not replace the need to follow prevention measures and public health guidance including cleaning and sanitizing, wearing of personal protective equipment (PPE) if appropriate, maintaining physical distancing, staying home and isolating if ill, hand washing and proper respiratory etiquette.
To date testing for COVID-19 has occurred in many ways. The following groups have the ability to test for COVID-19:
- COVID-19 assessment centres
- Public health units
- Primary care providers
- Long-term care facilities
- Mental health and addiction facilities
- Aboriginal health access centres
Testing in Windsor-Essex occurs daily through all of the above agencies contingent on the availability of supplies. Until recently, asymptomatic individuals were not part of the provincial testing guidance. Mass testing has been conducted by the WECHU in collaboration with partners in long-term care and retirement homes, shelters, group homes and housing with supports, and among farm workers. Under the new provincial testing strategy, public health will focus its efforts on case and contact management and management of outbreaks while Ontario will mobilize teams for testing among high risk settings going forward.
Random Testing is currently being conducted by the WECHU to provide a sense of the prevalence of COVID-19 within Windsor-Essex. Random testing for COVID-19 is important as it provides better quality data for analysis, planning and intervention. Given that testing every person in our community at a point in time is not possible, a random sample of our community will provide the WECHU with enough information to make predictions and identify potential trends.
For more information on testing guidance from the Ministry, review the provincial testing guidance document. For information about the provincial testing strategy, review Protecting Ontarians Through Enhanced Testing.
“The job of the health unit is to protect and promote the health of the population. We do this through enforcement of regulations, education, guidance and support. Public Health’s most important role is to provide expertise and guidance on the science of population health for local communities to utilize in planning of their programs and response,” says Dr. Wajid Ahmed, Medical Officer of Health.
The Provincial government has extended order under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act to June 30th. 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.