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.
Windsor - Jun. 18, 2020: 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.
As part of the Windsor-Essex County Health Units’ role identified in Protecting Ontarians through Enhanced Testing, the WECHU continues to identify and investigate COVID-19 outbreaks in Windsor-Essex. Currently the WECHU is working with employers and investigating 8 outbreaks in the agriculture sector and have continued to test workers as part of our role related to case and contact management and outbreak management. Currently there are 169 active cases of COVID-19 in the Agri-food sector under public health monitoring. To date the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases among this sector is 365 with 195 resolved and 2 deaths.
Today, Dr. Wajid Ahmed, Medical Officer of Health for Windsor-Essex County and Theresa Marentette, CEO and Chief Nursing Officer for the WECHU joined, Irek Kusmierczyk, MP for Windsor-Tecumseh, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion and local health system partners in conversation with the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Health for Canada to discuss the current situation in the Agri-food sector. The WECHU provided Minister Hajdu with an overview of the COVID-19 cases in local farms, outbreak and contact management work and identified existing concerns and challenges related to managing COVID-19 in the Agri-food sector, which hosts the largest number of migrant farms in Ontario.
Among concerns, Dr. Ahmed highlighted housing, accommodations, and the lack of compliance with isolation requirements. On June 13th, Dr. Ahmed enhanced his order under section 22 of the Health Protection and Promotion Act (HPPA) for all owners and operators of farms in Windsor and Essex County. Violations of the isolation requirement continue and the Health Unit enforcement officers are delivering orders related to non-compliance. Minister Hajdu acknowledged the concerns of Windsor-Essex County and has asked for a follow up meeting to remain apprised of the situation.
“As a Public Health Unit our role is to identify outbreaks, investigate and conduct contact tracing and management to limit the spread of COVID-19 including on-site testing. Limiting the spread of COVID-19 takes everyone to participate and adhere to public health guidelines,” says Dr. Wajid Ahmed, Medical Officer of Health.