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Health Unit COVID-19 Morning Update For Tuesday, March 31st: 21 New Cases, 65 Total

Tuesday March 31st, 2020, 9:46am


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The Windsor Essex County Health Unit has announced 21 more positive cases of COVID-19 in Windsor-Essex as of Tuesday, bringing the local total to 65.

As of Tuesday morning, the Health Unit says 1052 people have been tested and 330 tests are still pending.

Medical Officer of Health Dr. Wajid Ahmed says the Health Unit is following up with all the close contacts of the new cases and details will be provided to the public on Wednesday.

Dr. Ahmed provided statistics on the 44 total positive cases from Monday:

  • 20% of the cases are possible community transmission
  • 80% of the cases have travelled outside of the region
  • 2/3 of the cases have a travel history to Michigan
  • 1/3 of the cases are healthcare workers
  • all but 1 of the healthcare cases are healthcare workers working in Michigan
  • 20% of local cases are hospitalized with 3 in intensive care
  • 50% of the cases are female, 50% of the cases are male

Dr. Ahmed said the two main concerns right now for the Health Unit are community transmission and healthcare workers.

He said people need to continue to follow the recommendations of physical distancing. “It is very critical now when you’re talking about community transmission that potentially anyone you come in contact with could be a case of COVID-19,” he said.

Dr. Ahmed expressed concern about continued cross-border travel, especially that of essential workers in Michigan.

“Michigan is becoming a hotspot for COVID-19 as the number of cases continues to rise,” he said. “In Detroit the number of cases is more than the total number of cases in all of Ontario. This is a concern for all of us.”

“Every time someone is crossing the border and coming into our community it’s potentially increasing the risk of COVID-19,” Dr. Ahmed said. “We should be looking at the possibility of limiting these cross-border travels whenever it’s possible.”

“Given that close to 1/3 of our confirmed cases involve healthcare workers and more than half travel to the United States, the WECHU continues to be concerned with the border and the risk associated with daily travel to Michigan,” Dr. Ahmed said.

“Given the number of cases that are rising at an alarming rate in Michigan, the measures that are currently in place by all levels of government in Canada to flatten the curve may not work in Windsor-Essex if we do not limit cross-border travel,” he said.

Current Provincial Guidance & Restrictions
The province is providing guidance, recommendations and restrictions on a regular basis to public health. As of March 17th, 2020, under the provincial Emergency Act the following orders are in place until April 15th:

  • Mandatory under the federal Quarantine Act, 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.
  • Prohibition on organized public events and social gatherings over 5 people (funerals can have up to 10)
  • Closure of all communal or shared public or private, outdoor recreational amenities everywhere in Ontario including gardens, parks, sports fields beaches, etc.
  • Closure of all Ontario Parks to visitors
  • Closure of all licenced child care centres
  • Closure of all public schools
  • 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
  • Physical distancing (2 Metres)

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:

  • 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 follows the 2 meter physical 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 their work to one institution (whenever possible) during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Physicians should screen clients over the phone and refer as appropriate.
  • Implement your 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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