CBC Windsor June 15 COVID-19 update: Windsor-Essex does not enter Stage 2 of reopening

Here's what you need to know about COVID-19 in Windsor-Essex on Monday, June 15.

The Windsor Essex County Health Unit no longer gives daily COVID-19 updates

The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit no longer gives daily COVID-19 video updates. (Sanjay Maru/CBC)

The province announced Monday that a few more regions in Ontario will move into the second stage of reopening. Windsor-Essex is not on that list, but it does include Sarnia-Lambton. 

The border regions were among those left out last week when Chatham-Kent and much of the province were allowed to move forward.

Hair salons and restaurant patios opened to the public in Chatham-Kent over the weekend — with some restrictions in place and safety precautions. 

Dr. Wajid Ahmed, medical officer of health for Windsor-Essex, said Monday that he updated provincial officials with current data for the region but that it was ultimately up to them to make a decision on whether or not it was safe for the area to reopen. 

On Monday, Ontario Premier Doug Ford said he spoke with Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens about the region moving forward into Stage 2. 

"Please be patient," Ford said during his daily press conference. "We're going to get there very very soon."

Minister of Health Christine Elliott said numbers were too high in the region to allow for reopening. 

WATCH | Windsor-Essex still can't enter Stage 2 of reopening:

Premier Doug Ford asks Windsor-Essex to 'be patient'

1 year ago
More regions in Ontario will enter Stage 2 of reopening this week, but not Windsor-Essex. 2:12

Ahmed said societal and economic needs of the region need to be weighed against public health needs. 

The medical officer previously stated that the number of new cases and the spread of the virus would need to diminish before officials could consider moving into Stage 2 of reopening.

Following the province's announcement, Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens issued a statement saying while he's disappointed to see Windsor-Essex won't moving into Stage 2, he understands that "we cannot pick and choose cities and towns within our region that could move forward to Stage 2, while others are held back."

On Sunday afternoon, I held conversations with Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Ontario Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, Ernie Hardeman to express my concern regarding the ongoing spread of COVID-19 across the migrant worker population in our region," said Dilkens.

"Current reports regarding testing in the region indicate that we can and must do more to test the full and complete population of migrant workers. During my conversations this weekend, I expressed my desire for stronger intervention from the Province of Ontario to help test and isolate the temporary foreign workers in our region."

On Monday, seven new cases of COVID-19 were reported in our area.

Two long-term care homes — County Village Homes in Woodslee and Village of Aspen Lake in Tecumseh — are currently under a COVID-19 outbreak. One staff member has tested positive at each facility. 

Over the weekend in Windsor-Essex, 58 new cases of COVID-19 were reported with all but eight of those cases in farm workers in the region. 

The Windsor Essex County health Unit reported that nine agricultural workplaces are under a COVID-19 outbreak, however specific names of the businesses were not provided. The health unit previously said that they would only name businesses if there was a risk to public health. 

Three of the businesses under outbreak are located in Kingsville and the other six are in Leamington. 

An outbreak is marked when two or more employees test positive for COVID-19 "within a reasonable timeline to suspect transmission in the workplace."

Agricultural farms ordered to provide food, water, communication devices to isolating workers

On Friday the health unit announced that owners of agricultural farms in Windsor-Essex who employ migrant farm workers in any capacity, participate in the temporary foreign worker program and operate any form of seasonal housing accommodations would have to comply with a new order.

The order requires these farms to ensure meals are provided to temporary foreign workers undergoing isolation.

"Meals must be nutritious and well balanced. Employers must accommodate dietary restrictions for workers under isolation. Workers under isolation must also be able to store food in a safe manner," the health unit said in a statement.

Access to portable water tanks and a communication device — which can not be shared by more than five people and should be disinfected between uses — must also be available "at all times" to isolating workers, as per the order.

The order also prohibits temporary foreign workers from being moved into a "non-inspected living accommodation." If approved living spaces require renovations to the "floor space, number of faucets, toilets, showers, and/or bathtubs," the health unit must give the green light.

"Failure to comply with the order as updated may result in a fine of up to $5,000 (for a person) and $25,000 (for a corporation) for every day or part of each day on which the offence occurs or continues," the health unit added.

That order came into effect Saturday. 

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 gone 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 276 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the region, an increase of two cases since Friday. Overall, 25 people have died. 

Another 235 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 149 total 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 144 people have recovered. 

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