CBC Windsor June 11 COVID-19 update: Here's what's happening today

Here's what you need to know about COVID-19 in Windsor-Essex on Thursday, June 11.

The Windsor Essex County Health Unit no longer gives daily live video updates

The Windsor-Essex Health Unit says there have been 1,179 reported cases of COVID-19 in Windsor-Essex County. (Vince Robinet/CBC)

The numbers of new COVID-19 cases among agricultural workers has climbed this week. 

On Wednesday, all 38 of the newly reported COVID-19 cases were in those working in the agricultural sector and on Monday, 34 of the 43 new cases were in farms workers as well.

Monday and Tuesday were the second and third highest days for new cases in our region since the pandemic started. 

On Thursday, 16 new cases were reported. 

Medical officer of health Dr. Wajid Ahmed said increased testing for migrant farms workers is the reason behind the reported new cases. 

Erie Shores HealthCare's COVID-19 assessment centre saw 160 farm workers on Tuesday — significantly less than the 500 to 600 tests officials were hoping to conduct each day. The goal is to test as many of the 8,000 migrant workers in the area as possible. 

But Ahmed said people cannot be forced to get tested. 

"We also have to recognize that this is something that we have always enjoyed as Canadians and as a society the freedom of making a decision that no one can force you or I to go and get tested unless we feel that there is a risk for me as a person living in the community to spread it to other people," he said. 

On Tuesday and Wednesday, 81 new COVID-19 cases were reported in our region. The majority of cases are in farm workers. (Windsor Essex County Health Unit)

Ahmed said he's learned some in the sector are not always forthcoming with their symptoms.

"These workers are here because they want to make money and it's their job. And every time that they're not at work they are at a risk of not getting money or maybe even feel that if they continue to show up as weak and not able to work — their job could be at risk," he said. 

The assessment centre at the Nature Fresh Farms Recreation Centre opened as a way to improve access to testing for people in the agri-food sector. It also came after two migrant workers from Mexico died in Windsor-Essex due to COVID-19

Windsor-Essex's migrant worker situation has emphasized the need for systemic changes, said Ahmed, which includes assessing workers' accommodations, along with managing language and culture barriers.

In the short-term, Ahmed said they are focused on immediate supports like contact-tracing and management of cases. 

Meanwhile, in another vulnerable sector of the community, a seniors' home previously cleared of an outbreak has been added back to the list this week. 

Country Village Homes, a long-term care home in Woodslee, is back under an outbreak after one staff member tested positive for the disease. 

The health unit said this week directives from the province indicated residents at long-term care and retirement homes would be tested twice in the month of June, but offered no further details about that testing. 

Workplaces under an outbreak

The health unit will begin reporting any outbreaks at workplaces where more than two or more employees have tested positive for COVID-19 within a reasonable amount of time, said Ahmed.

"This disclosure will help the community understand better how the spread is happening and help us reinforce those important measures we need to take when we visit these workplaces," said Ahmed. "It is all of our responsibility when we visit these workplaces we are taking appropriate precautions and employers are too." 

With more people returning to work and the province continuing reopening strategies, Ahmed said the reporting is necessary. 

A list of current workplaces that are under outbreak will be provided on the health unit's website sometime this week.

(Peter Kovalik/Scott Galley/CBC)

The health unit announced Monday they would no longer be providing daily COVID-19 live updates each morning, and would instead provide current numbers through its website. A live video update will occur on Fridays when Ahmed presents the epidemiological summary report for our region. 

Random drive-thru testing will be available on Thursday in Leamington at the Nature Fresh Farms Recreation Centre and Friday in Lakeshore at the Atlas Tube Centre. Both sites will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Testing centres open 7 days a week

The health unit said testing is available at two assessment centres in Windsor-Essex. People that have at least one symptom of the virus, and people who are asymptomatic but are at risk of contracting the virus can be tested. 

Windsor Regional Hospital has went back to usual testing hours, after briefly extending them due to an increase in the volume of people looking to be tested.

The assessment centre at the Ouellette Campus next to the Emergency Department is open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Friday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

The assessment centre at Erie Shores HealthCare is open from Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

COVID-19 in Sarnia-Lambton

Lambton Public Health reported 271 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the region. Overall, 25 people have died. 

Another 233 people have recovered.

An outbreak at Vision Nursing Home in Sarnia continues with 26 residents in total testing positive for the disease and 28 staff members.

Ten residents in total have died at Vision Nursing Home. 

COVID-19 in Chatham-Kent

Chatham-Kent's health unit reported 148 cases of COVID-19 for that community, with the majority of them linked to an outbreak at Greenhill Produce. 

There are now 103 workers at the facility who have tested positive for COVID-19. An outbreak was investigated at the end of April, when about 40 cases of the disease were discovered among workers at the greenhouse operation. 

Only two of those cases are still active, according to CK Public Health. 

In Chatham-Kent, one person has died due to COVID-19 and 142 people have recovered. 

A mobile drive-thru for COVID-19 testing will take place in Wallaceburg from Thursday to Saturday between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. The clinic is for anyone wishing to be swabbed and will be located in the front parking lot of Chatham-Kent Health Alliance's Wallaceburg site at 325 Margaret Avenue. 

Those seeking to receive a test are required to bring a valid health card. 

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