Windsor-Essex health officials speak out against threats, harassment targeted at staff

Public health officials in Windsor-Essex are speaking out following a recent escalation in abuse toward their staff.

Health unit says abuse is occurring in person and online

The CEO of the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit, Nicole Dupuis, says abusive behavior toward staff will not be tolerated. (Sanjay Maru/CBC)

Public health officials in Windsor-Essex are speaking out following a recent escalation in abuse toward their staff.

Nicole Dupuis, CEO of the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit, said some recent criticism of public health measures and vaccination rules has crossed the line into harassment and threats of violence.

The behaviour is occurring in person and online, Dupuis said. On occasion, police were involved, and the health unit has shut down commenting on its social media.

"We respect the right of individuals to speak out and protest and to express their feelings about any actions or mandates that they do not agree with," she told reporters on Wednesday morning.

"We encourage public discourse and respectful exchange of information, however it is not OK when this escalates to abusive, threatening or violent behaviour, and we must all stand up against this."

Dupuis said none of the incidents so far have involved physical violence.

Meanwhile, the health unit reported 31 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday. In total, 247 cases are active, and 11 people who have COVID-19 are currently in hospital.

There are 21 ongoing outbreaks in Windsor-Essexm, including 15 in workplaces:

  • Eight workplaces are in the agricultural sector.
  • One workplace in the food and beverage sector.
  • Three workplaces are in the health care and social assistance sector.
  • Two workplaces are in the manufacturing sector.
  • One workplace is in a public administration setting.

Three schools are in outbreak:

  • École élémentaire Louise-Charron.
  • École élémentaire catholique Georges-P.-Vanier.
  • École élémentaire catholique Sainte-Ursule.

The Downtown Mission and Salvation Army, as well as La Chaumiere Retirement Residence, also remain in outbreak while an outbreak at the Village at St. Clair has been rescinded.

COVID-19 in Chatham-Kent, Sarnia-Lambton

In Chatham-Kent, 13 new cases of COVID-19 were reported on Wednesday. Overall, 73 cases are active.

In Sarnia-Lambton, there were no new cases reported and the active case count, which is on a downward trend, has fallen to 57 as of Wednesday.

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