NEWS RELEASE: March 17 Public Health Updates Related to Coronavirus (COVID-19)
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Tuesday, March 17, 2020 | 10 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, 93 individuals have been tested for COVID-19; and 37 tests are pending.
- There are 441 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Canada and 177 cases in Ontario.
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?
Many of levels of government, agencies and professional organizations released strong advice, recommendations, and orders in the last 24 hours as we continue to prepare and respond to COVID-19. While these recommendations and decisions are difficult, they are all made to mitigate risks and slow the spread of the virus. Time is critical in the fight to contain the spread of COVID-19. The focus must move to essential services and anything non-essential reconsidered to maintain and enable social distancing in communities and the declaration by the province as a state of emergency moves us forward in a consistent approach to risk mitigation
Social distancing includes maintaining a 2-meter distance between yourself and others and restricting close contact to immediate family and caregivers. To adhere to this advice, many dental offices are cancelling non-emergency services, hospitals are ramping down elective procedures and sports organizations and municipalities have cancelled events and closed their doors, all to do their part to protect the public and limit the spread of disease.
The recommendations and guidance of the Chief Medical Officer of Health for Ontario and Medical Officer of Health for Windsor-Essex were strengthened this morning with an order from the Provincial Government.
Current Provincial Guidance
The province is providing guidance and recommendations on a regular basis to public health. As of March 17th, 2020, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. David Williams has recommended:
- All non-essential travel outside of Canada be suspended.
- 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
- School Closures for two weeks following March Break.
- Closure of all indoor recreational programs and libraries.
- Closure of all private schools
- All bars and restaurants, with the exception of restaurants that can shift to takeout/delivery mechanisms.
- 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.
- Immediately suspending all large events or public gatherings of 50 people or more.
- University, Colleges and workplaces consider virtual options.
Current recommendations from Dr. Wajid Ahmed, Medical Officer of Health
- Practice social distancing (2m distance from others)
- Bars, restaurants, nightclubs and Royal Canadian Legions should close, at minimum for St. Patrick’s Day, cancelling large scale events
- All area businesses should exclude workers for 14 days following travel outside of Canada and move to work from home where feasible
- Essential workers should 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
- Anyone travelling outside of Canada with children should self-isolate for 14 days upon return
- 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
“Right now we have a window of opportunity to flatten the curve and slow the spread of COVID-19. We have to put public safety and community good over the bottom line. Every agency, workplace, leader and individual has a role to play in protecting the health and wellbeing of our community” 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.