CBC Windsor July 14 COVID-19 update: 14 new cases reported today
Windsor-Essex, Sarnia-Lambton stay in Stage 2 while majority of province moves on with reopening
The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit reported 14 new COVID-19 cases in Windsor-Essex on Tuesday.
Seven of the cases are in farm workers, six people contracted the virus in the community, and one case is under investigation.
The health unit says since the beginning of July, 154 inspections have taken place in regards to masks and patios being open.
"I think it's expected that as we open up, people are going to identify folks that are not being compliant," said Theresa Marentette, CEO and chief nursing officer of the health unit.
Health unit inspectors have been focused on educating business owners about policies they need to have in place relating to masks and patios.
On Monday, Ontario Premier Doug Ford made the announcement that many regions in the province, including Chatham-Kent, would enter Stage 3 of reopening Friday, July 17. That will be five weeks since those regions entered Stage 2 on June 12.
However Windsor-Essex and Sarnia-Lambton will remain behind, as both of the regions were late to enter Stage 2 of reopening due to higher rates of COVID-19 in the communities.
"These regions entered Stage 2 later on, so we need just a little more time. I want the people in these regions to know we won't leave anyone behind" said Ford.
"We will keep working until every part of the province enters Stage 3."
Locally, spikes of new cases among the migrant farm worker population have been a major driver of the high rate of the disease in Windsor-Essex. On Monday, 15 new cases were reported with 10 of the new cases in farm workers. Roughly 824 farm workers have tested positive for COVID-19 to date.
On Monday, medical officer of health Dr. Wajid Ahmed said as the province reopens, Windsor-Essex should look at the "lessons learned" in places of the country that opened earlier — and especially to the United States where some current outbreaks are worse than when the pandemic first began.
"It is scary, it scares me," Ahmed said of the high rate of COVID-19 seen in parts of the U.S. "What they are seeing now is what we were trying to prevent in the first place."
WATCH | Ford announces what Stage 3 of reopening looks like:
Ahmed said misinformation is fuelling some people's ideas the pandemic is a "conspiracy," and is urging people to follow guidelines from public health rather than opinions.
"In some areas where broader reopening has proceeded, they are experiencing an increase of COVID-19 cases. We must continue to practice COVID-19 safety measurements," he said.
Physical distancing and wearing a non-surgical mask where distancing is difficult are the main preventative measures people have, said Ahmed.
Country-wide study looks at affects of the pandemic
During their Tuesday briefing, health unit officials welcomed partners involved in conducting a country-wide study that looks at how the pandemic has changed people's lives. They hope the findings will influence policy decisions.
"It's important because data will be part of a large base of information to support better decisions on COVID-19 containment measures," said Dr. Kate Zinszer, assistant professor in the School of Public Health at the Université de Montréal.
Zinszer said mental health, income, food security, and green spaces are just some of the issues the study looks to observe and offer insights on.
WATCH | The health unit's COVID-19 update for July 14:
The national Cohesion Study gathers information through various surveys that people can voluntarily fill out on a bi-monthly basis.
Teams and partners across the study anticipate it could last for up to two-years post pandemic, as researchers look at how living conditions have changed all across Canada.
Outbreaks in Windsor-Essex
Two seniors homes in the area are currently under a COVID-19 outbreak. Riverside Place long-term care home in Windsor has had one staff member test positive and Augustine Villas retirement home in Kingsville has one staff member who tested positive over the weekend.
An outbreak at Devonshire Retirement Residence retirement home in Windsor is now over.
Six workplaces are currently under a COVID-19 outbreak. One is in the manufacturing sector and five others are in the agricultural sector. The businesses are located in Leamington and Kingsville but the health unit does not name businesses under an outbreak unless there is a risk to public health, say officials.
COVID-19 in Sarnia-Lambton
Lambton Public Health reported no new cases of COVID-19 in the region. There have been 286 total cases and overall, there have been 25 deaths.
Another 259 people have recovered.
COVID-19 in Chatham-Kent
Chatham-Kent's health unit is reporting two new cases of COVID-19. The area has had 168 total cases, but only 10 cases are currently active. Those individuals are self-isolating.
In Chatham-Kent, one person has died due to COVID-19 and 157 people have recovered.