Windsor

CBC Windsor July 24 COVID-19 update: Here's what's happening today

Here's what you need to know about COVID-19 in Windsor-Essex on Friday, July 24.

Windsor-Essex has the highest rate of COVID-19 in Ontario

To date, 69 people have died of the virus and 1,433 cases have been marked as resolved by the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit. (Sanjay Maru/CBC)

Windsor-Essex has the highest rate of COVID-19 in the province, the local health unit announced Friday.

The health unit reported 53 new cases in the region Friday. 

Of these cases, 43 are in the agri-farm sector, five are within the community and another five are still being  investigated. 

"It is definitely stressful, concerning and we've been dealing with this for quite some time now," medical officer of health Dr. Wajid Ahmed said in regards to Windsor taking the top spot in the province for its COVID-19 rate. "For some it may be just a number as well, but it also means the time, the energy [and] the efforts that our staff are putting in are also multiplied significantly."

In total, Windsor-Essex has had 2,124 positive cases, of these 1,365 have been resolved. 

The region currently has 15 people in hospital and 69 deaths. 

While roughly half of the region's cases are from the agri-farm sector, Ahmed said we are seeing cases in the community increase, likely because of people not following public health measures and Stage 2 reopening. 

"We're in this together," Ahmed said. "We all have to do our part, unless we all work together, unless we all do our part, it has the potential to get worse — even worse than we are seeing right now."

This past week Ahmed has expressed concern about the uptick in people contracting the virus from one another, also known as "community spread."

"Even from a social circle perspective ... we know there are people now gathering and having group social gatherings with a large number of people and that's something I think we need to be concerned about," he said during Thursday's press briefing. 

 

Many Windsorites have told CBC News they are concerned about spread within the community, including June Laforet who said she's upset to see how COVID-19 has changed the way she lives, but is perfectly happy to stay home and keep busy if it will help stop the spread of the disease.  

"I get so depressed and sad because you can't do anything you used to, but when you think of the consequences, at least you can afford to be sad and healthy," she said.

Windsor resident, June Laforet, wants to see an end to the disease as soon as possible. (Tahmina Aziz/CBC)

Yet, Laforet said she's noticed other people in the community aren't doing their part.

"More and more people aren't doing what they're supposed to and more and more people are going to get sick, and I think it's so terrible," she said.

READ MORE | Here's how Windsorites feel about the spread of COVID-19 happening right now

Three seniors homes in the area are currently under a COVID-19 outbreak. 

Augustine Villas retirement home in Kingsville has one staff member who tested positive for COVID-19. Village of Aspen Lake in Tecumseh is back under outbreak after two staff members tested positive for COVID-19 there. Chartwell Leamington retirement home has two staff members who tested positive for COVID-19. 

There are now ten workplaces currently under a COVID-19 outbreak.

Two are in the manufacturing sector — one located in Windsor and one in Leamington. Eight other workplaces are in the agricultural sector and are located in Kingsville and Leamington. 

Ahmed confirmed that a childcare centre also experienced an outbreak and all those possibly exposed have been notified to self-isolate. 

The health unit does not name businesses under an outbreak unless there is a risk to public health, say officials.

WATCH | The health unit's COVID-19 update for July 24 live at 9:30 a.m.:  

Farm testing delay in Windsor-Essex blamed on employer confusion

COVID-19 testing on Windsor-Essex farms is starting up again after being at a standstill for more than two weeks — a delay that Ontario's chief medical officer of health said was due to confusion and a lack of communication with employers. 

As of July 6, 19 of 176 farms in the region had been tested. More than two weeks later, that number has stayed the same. During a Thursday press conference, Dr. David Williams said testing was "starting back up again." 

Ontario's chief medical officer of health Dr. David Williams said Thursday that COVID-19 testing on farms is starting up again after a more than two week pause. (Government of Ontario)

Williams said there was confusion over the COVID-19 testing, what the isolation process entailed and how those measures would impact business.

"It was more of a pause to improve the communications and coordination to ensure we're working in sync with the farm owners so they understand," Williams said. "Of course the ultimate goal is the protection and health and safety of the farm workers." 

Migrant worker isolation centre opens at Windsor Holiday Inn

A second isolation site for migrant workers exposed to COVID-19 opened Tuesday in Windsor-Essex at a Holiday Inn hotel.

In addition to the Best Western in Leamington that started housing isolating migrant workers a few weeks ago, a Holiday Inn in Windsor is now also being used as an isolation centre.

The hotel started accepting workers who tested positive themselves or had been exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday, according to Leianne Musselman, communications director for the Canadian Red Cross.

This Windsor Holiday Inn hotel opened Tuesday as the region's second isolation centre for migrant workers who have tested positive for COVID-19 or been in contact with a positive case. (Jason Viau/CBC)

The Canadian Red Cross is overseeing both isolation centres, which have a total of 140 workers, and the agency is also managing the overall care of the workers in isolation, Musselman said.

Four employees from two Walmart stores in Windsor test positive for COVID-19

Four Walmart employees from two Windsor locations have tested positive for COVID-19 as recently as last week, according to the company's director of corporate affairs. 

On Friday, Ahmed said this is not considered a workplace outbreak because the employees live together and at least two contracted the disease while they were isolating at home. He said the health unit is still trying to determine whether the employees worked while they were symptomatic or infectious. 

At this time, Ahmed said locals who shop at either location shouldn't be concerned unless they came into direct contact with the positive employees. 

CBC News received confirmation by email that three employees work at the east Windsor location on 7100 Tecumseh Rd E. and one employee works at the south Windsor location on 3120 Dougall Ave. 

At the east Windsor store, the employees who tested positive last worked on July 2, 12 and 14. At the south Windsor store, the infected employee's last day of work was July 1. 

COVID-19 in Sarnia-Lambton

Lambton Public Health reported no new cases of COVID-19 in the region Thursday. There have been 292 total cases and overall, there have been 25 deaths. 

Another 261 people have recovered.

Sarnia-Lambton moves into Stage 3 of reopening on Friday. 

COVID-19 in Chatham-Kent

Chatham-Kent's health unit reported 16 new cases of COVID-19 Thursday afternoon. The area has had 214 cases.

One person is in hospital and 44 others are self-isolating with the disease. 

In Chatham-Kent, one person has died due to COVID-19 and 168 people have recovered. 

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