Health Unit COVID-19 Morning Update For Tuesday, March 24th

Tuesday March 24th, 2020

Posted at 9:40am

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The Windsor Essex County Health Unit is continuing to urge precaution in the community after announcing there have been no new cases of COVID-19 as of Tuesday morning.

The Health Unit says three people are still confirmed positive for COVID-19 and are recovering.  As of Tuesday morning, the Health Unit says 500 people have been tested, 329 tests are still pending, and testing can take up to 7 days for results.

Dr. Wajid Ahmed, Medical Officer of Health for Windsor Essex says the new testing lab in London has opened and tests are now being sent there.  Dr. Ahmed says the new lab is able to process tests in one to two days.

Dr. Ahmed say’s he’s concerned about the potential for spread of COVID-19 due to continued cross-border travel for work.

“While the closure of all non-essential workplaces in Ontario is helpful to mitigate the risk for Windsor-Essex, it does little for many residents who are employed just over the border in Michigan,” says Dr. Ahmed.

“Two of the cases in our area were travel related to Michigan and the number of COVID-19 cases in Detroit is slightly less than the number of cases in the entire province of Ontario,” he said.

Dr. Ahmed is calling on the government to further restrict permitted cross-border travel for work.

“We are requesting strong action by all levels of government to put strong measures in place and restrict cross-border travel,” he said.  “We are asking for stronger measures to control and limit those individuals crossing the border, because with the widespread community transmission in Detroit and Michigan, [workers] may be exposed to individuals with COVID-19 and potentially bring it back to Windsor-Essex.”

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. For additional details on workplaces including environmental cleaning, please follow guidance for employees and employer section on our website.
  • Physicians should screen clients over the phone and use telemedicine options to determine if in-person appointment is necessary 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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