CBC Windsor May 20 COVID-19 update: Here's what's happening today

Here's a look at what's happening in our area on Wednesday, May 20.

Windsor-Essex County Health Unit provides a daily COVID-19 update

Dr. Wajid Ahmed, medical officer of health with the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit, provides a daily COVID-19 update. (Amy Dodge/CBC)

The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit reported 11 new cases of COVID-19 and no new deaths for our region. 

Overall, 455 people have recovered from the disease, 22 people are hospitalized with three of them in the intensive care unit.

There are now 14 long-term care and retirement homes in Windsor-Essex under a COVID-19 outbreak, down from 17 on Tuesday. 

An outbreak is considered over when there are no new symptoms or cases of COVID-19 after 14 days. Medical officer of health, Dr. Wajid Ahmed, explained that's enough evidence to show the spread of the virus has finished. 

There are now 14 long-term care and retirement facilities currently experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak. (Windsor Essex County Health Unit)

Beginning this week, the health unit will be taking questions from the community through their website which they will answer during daily COVID-19 briefings. 

On Tuesday, the health unit announced that COVID-19 testing would be available for people who are experiencing even one symptom related to the virus — a significant change to the testing criteria previously outlined throughout the course of the pandemic. 

As more businesses and services reopen, the likelihood of community contact is much higher, explained Ahmed, adding it's necessary to show the impact the disease is having on the community. 

"Now when we're scaling back those measures, we need to know how this will impact the community in general and this is the way to do it," he said. 

WATCH | The health unit's COVID-19 update for May 20:

Those who have even one symptom of coronavirus can go to an assessment centre and be tested or they can contact their primary care provider to set up an appointment to be tested if the office is able to do so, said Ahmed. Testing more people, even those with mild symptoms, will give a better idea of the community spread, he said. 

Previously, testing was limited and people were directed to Telehealth or online assessment tools. The health unit and the province said lab capacity and testing supplies were limited. 

Now, Ahmed said lab capacity has been expanded and labs have monitored their swab supplies, which is reassessed at regular intervals to calculate what can be accomplished on a weekly basis.

Reopening slowly begins

Golf courses, marinas and private parks were given the go-ahead to open over the weekend. 

On Tuesday, retail stores with street entrances not located inside shopping malls began reopening with physical distancing measures in place. 

On Wednesday, dog parks, basketball courts, picnic sites and other outdoor amenities are expected to reopen in the City of Windsor as of 10 a.m.

Ahmed said people should stick to strict physically distancing rules, and not to visit family members who may be older or at a higher risk of coronavirus. 

The health unit has recommended that people wear masks when they go out in public, as a means to further prevent the spread of the virus as more people access newly reopened businesses and services. But Ahmed, has also stressed that people should limit their trips outside of the home to essential needs only. 

COVID-19 in Sarnia-Lambton

Lambton Public Health reported 230 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the region. Overall, 19 people have died and 167 people have recovered from the disease. 

An outbreak at Vison Nursing Home in Sarnia has worsened with 15 residents testing positive for the disease and 14 staff members. Four residents there have died.

An outbreak at Marshall Gowland Manor long-term care home in Sarnia has also been reported, with one resident testing positive. 

Village On The St. Clair retirement home in Sarnia is also experiencing an outbreak, as two residents there tested positive for COVID-19. 

COVID-19 in Chatham-Kent

Chatham-Kent's health unit reported 137 cases of COVID-19 for that community, with the majority of them linked to an outbreak at Greenhill Produce. 

There are now 95 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. 

In Chatham-Kent, one person has died due to COVID-19 and 88 people have recovered. 

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