No confirmed coronavirus cases in Windsor and risk remains low, says health unit

The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit confirmed Friday afternoon that there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the area.

City officials gave a COVID-19 update Friday afternoon

Windsor's chief administrative officer, Onorio Colucci and Dr. Wajid Ahmed from the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit give a public update on city preparedness for COVID-19. (Amy Dodge/CBC)

The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit confirmed Friday afternoon that there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the area, but the city is taking extra precautions to avoid a potential spread of the virus. 

In a press conference, Windsor's chief administrative officer, Onorio Colucci, said the city and health officials are constantly monitoring the coronavirus situation.

"We urge residents to obtain their information from legitimate sources," said Colucci. "If you are sick, please stay home."

Dr. Wajid Ahmed of the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit urged people that have travelled to take necessary precautions. 

"if you're sick, stay home," he said of those individuals who have travelled from a high-risk country including mainland China, Italy and Iran. "You need to self-isolate immediately and contact the health unit immediately by phone. If you're coming from another country listed on Canada's travel advisory list, monitor your symptoms and stay vigilant." 

Ahmed also warned against panic, and stocking up on items when it is not necessary. 

Windsor's chief administrative officer, Onorio Colucci explained the city's updated precautions to all city facilities including Adventure Bay and Huron Lodge. (Amy Dodge/CBC News)

"We need to look at the local risk level, we do not have any cases in Windsor-Essex," he said. "Having some supplies for any emergencies is a good idea, but people need to realize if they are stocking up on those supplies there needs to be a gradual increase, especially for medicine."

According to Ahmed, residents should take medication as they need it as not to cause a mass shortage. 

Watch the full press conference here:

Windsor closures

Based on advice of WECHU, all City of Windsor EarlyOn Centres will be closed as of Saturday, March 14 through to Sunday, April 5 in line with the closures of all Ontario publicly funded schools. 

Huron Lodge is working with "all health care providers" to ensure the safety of clients there. Access will be limited to the main entrance and all staff, visitors, and residents entering the home will be screened for travel history and respiratory illness. Visitation to residents will be limited to one visitor per resident at any given time, though palliative care residents will be allowed two. 

Adventure Bay will limit the number of attendees at any given time to 250. Hours will be limited to two daily sessions from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Enhanced cleaning will be in place during that time. The city said parents will use their discretion on whether to attend the facility or not. 

Still awaiting test results on self-isolating physician

On Thursday, Hotel-Dieu Grace Healthcare officials announced that a physician working in psychiatry had developed coronavirus symptoms and was currently self-isolating at home.

The physician in question had been tested, and officials were awaiting results that can take up to 24 hours. 

Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Hotel-Dieu Grace Healthcare president and CEO Janice Kaffer said eight patients have come into contact with the physician, adding that all eight patients have been informed. 

She added that 22 staff members who came into contact with this physician have been sent home. These staff members are also self-isolating until Hotel-Dieu Grace receives the physician's test results. 

Kaffer said the physician returned on the weekend from a cruise ship in the Caribbean. They came to work on Monday, with symptoms becoming worse on Thursday. 

On Friday, Windsor Regional Hospital and Erie Shores HealthCare announced they will limit visitors, as a precaution against the spread of COVID-19, beginning Saturday. 

In a statement, hospital officials said each patient may only have one visitor, except for pediatric patients, patients in critical care, neonatal intensive care, or palliative patients may have two visitors. 

On Friday, St. Clair College announced the school would move to online classes, as a way to limit face-to-face interactions. 

In an emailed statement to staff, the college announced that all face-to-face classes and lectures will move to online delivery starting Monday, March 23. There were no classes planned next week because of March Break.

Labs that require specialized equipment will continue, the college stated, until further notice.