The Windsor Essex County Health Unit (WECHU) is providing an update regarding novel Coronavirus. The causative agent has been named SARS-CoV-2 and the illness caused by this coronavirus has recently been named by the World Health Organization as COVID-19. For the purpose of clear communication, WECHU will use the term COVID-19 to refer to both the virus and the disease. Globally, there are more than 80,000 cases and over 2700 deaths. To date, 12 people in Windsor and Essex County have been tested for COVID-19 and all have tested negative. Sixty percent of these individuals have tested positive for influenza. Windsor and Essex County continues to have no confirmed cases and the risk of exposure to residents remains low. Influenza continues to be a greater risk within our community and clients should be encouraged to protect themselves by getting immunized. For other resources and materials to support infection prevention and control practices please visit our website www.wechu.org.
The case definition from February 7, 2020 remains in place. Persons under investigation include:
Any person with fever and/or cough or difficulty breathing AND any of the following:
- Travel to mainland China in the 14 days before onset of illness
- Close contact with a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19
- Close contact with a person with acute respiratory illness who has been to mainland China within 14 days prior to their illness onset
PHO Laboratory has implemented a new testing requisition for COVID -19. The new test requisition has eliminated the requirement to contact the laboratory for approval prior to testing. However, Health Care Providers must contact the WECHU and inform them about patients being tested for COVID-19 at the time of testing. Contact the Infectious Disease Department @ 519-258-2146 x 1420 for consultation and collaboration regarding testing and notification. After hours, contact 519-973-4510.
Clinical presentations that do not fit case definition, but are considered at risk of COVID-19 by the assessing clinician may also be considered for testing. Testing requires collection of both a nasal pharyngeal (NP) swab and a throat culture. PHO is not currently recommending routine testing of asymptomatic persons for COVID-19.
SELF-ISOLATION of TRAVELLERS
Local public health agencies continue to monitor travellers returning from mainland China for 14 days after their departure. Travellers are advised to contact local public health units upon return to Canada. The WECHU is conducting risk assessments and advising travellers to self-isolate and monitor for signs and symptoms of COVID-19. Should recent asymptomatic travellers from China present to a Health Care Provider office, please direct the client to contact the WECHU for self-isolation instructions.
The Ontario Ministry of Health has released guidance documents for the various health sectors including Independent Health Facilities, Pharmacies, Laboratories, Home and Community Care, Primary Care, Acute Care and Long-Term Care, which are available on our website at www.wechu.org/coronavirus.
The WECHU continues to monitor the emerging COVID-19 situation and collaborate with key community partners and local health care providers to ensure that all of the necessary precautions are in place to minimize the impact of novel coronavirus in our community.
Dr. Wajid Ahmed, MBBS, MAS, MSc, FRCPC
Medical Officer of Health