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Health Unit COVID-19 Morning Update For Thursday, March 26th: 5th Case Confirmed

Thursday March 26th, 2020, 9:31am


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The Windsor Essex County Health Unit has announced a 5th positive case of COVID-19 in Windsor-Essex.

The case is a male resident from Windsor-Essex in his 30’s with no history of international travel. The Health Unit says he was a frequent traveller between Windsor-Essex and Toronto.

He developed symptoms on March 15th and was tested in Toronto where he’s self-isolating.

The Health Unit is contacting all those he was in contact with and is informing them to self-isolate.

As of Thursday morning, the Health Unit says 658 people have been tested, 453 tests are still pending, and testing can take up to 7 days for results.

Theresa Marentette, CEO of the Windsor Essex County Health Unit, says the Ministry of Health has released new guidelines for COVID-19 testing in Ontario.

Marentette says the new guidelines say testing for COVID-19 should be based on clinical assessment, and in situations where there are shortages of testing kits, the following groups will be prioritized for testing:

  1. Symptomatic Health Care workers and staff who work in healthcare facilities
  2. Symptomatic residents and staff in long-term care facilities and retirement homes
  3. Hospitalized patients admitted with respiratory symptoms
  4. Symptomatic members of remote, isolated, rural and/or indigenous communities
  5. Symptomatic travellers identified at a point of entry into Canada

Medical Officer of Health for Windsor Essex Dr. Wajid Ahmed repeated his warning from Wednesday about community transmission and stressed the importance of isolation and physical distancing.

“As we are continuing to see a number of cases across Ontario it will be a matter of time when we see community transmission happening in Windsor-Essex,” he said. “I sound like a broken record, but the best thing you can still do for yourself, your family, and your community, is to stay home.”

Current Provincial Guidance & Restrictions
The province is providing guidance, recommendations and restrictions on a regular basis to public health. As of March 18th, 2020, under the provincial Emergency Act the following orders are in place until March 31st:

  • Anyone traveling outside of Canada should self-isolate for 14 days upon return. If symptoms develop during self-isolation, including fever and/or cough call public health at 519-258-2146 ext. 1420.
  • Closure of all Ontario Parks to visitors
  • Closure of all licenced child care centres
  • Closure of all public schools (Until April 6th)
  • Closure of all public libraries
  • Closure of all facilities providing indoor recreational programs
  • Closure of all private schools as defined in the Education Act
  • Closure of all Theatres and movie theatres
  • Closure of all concert venues
  • Closure of all Casinos (until further notice)
  • Closure of all bars and restaurants, except to the extent that such facilities provide takeout food and delivery
  • Closure of all non-essential workplaces
  • Long Term Care, Retirement Facilities, Hospice, and residential care facilities only permit essential visitors and actively screen visitors for symptoms and travel history, excluding entry if failed screening
  • Suspension of all non-essential travel outside of Canada**details to be announced
  • Social distancing (2 Metres)

Additionally, all organized public events of over 50 people are prohibited, including parades, events and communal services within places of worship.

These orders will remain in place until March 31, 2020, when the province will reassess for an extension or end the closures. Orders are being actively enforced.

Be advised that there is currently a state of emergency declared for the City of Windsor and the County of Essex

Current recommendations from Dr. Wajid Ahmed, Medical Officer of Health
Dr. Wajid Ahmed supports all of the recommendations and restrictions provided by the Government of Ontario for the City of Windsor and County of Essex. As well Dr. Ahmed recommends:

  • Closure of retail outlets including those that sell clothes, apparel, books, home décor. Failure to follow recommendation will result in an order.
  • Closure of all personal service settings (hair salons, nail salons etc.). Failure to follow recommendation will result in an order.
  • All residents returning from travel outside of Canada self-isolate for 14-days upon return, including essential workers returning from non-essential travel.
  • Seniors and high risk individuals should avoid any non-essential trips and stay home as much as possible.
  • Commuters that cross to Detroit for work purposes should consider work from home options with their employer where possible and regularly self-monitor for any symptoms including taking their temperature.
  • Employers in Windsor and Essex should make arrangements for their employees to work from home whenever possible. If work from home is not an option, please ensure that your workplace follow the 2 meter social distancing measure to ensure the safety and well-being of all employees and the community.
  • Healthcare workers especially those who work in long term care homes and are employed in multiple settings should work with their employers to restrict to their work to one institution (whenever possible) during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Physicians should screen clients over the phone and refer as appropriate.
  • Create an emergency preparedness plan to ensure you have what you need in case of self-isolation.
  • Wash hands with soap & water thoroughly and often.
  • Cough or sneeze into your sleeve or a tissue. Dispose of tissue immediately and wash your hands.
  • Keep surfaces clean and disinfected.
  • Stay home when you are sick; call your health care provider for advice and take the online self assessment tool for COVID-19

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