Health Unit Says No Confirmed COVID-19 Cases, Thursday, But Social Distancing Still Strongly Encouraged

Thursday March 19th, 2020

Posted at 9:18am

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Last updated: Thursday March 19th, 1:55pm

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

The Health Unit says 238 people have been tested and 148 tests are still pending.  Currently, tests are taking four days to process at Ontario’s laboratory.

Windsor-Essex’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Wajid Ahmed, warns that it’s inevitable our area will see a positive case of COVID-19 but proactive measures will help slow the virus’s impact.

“It is inevitable that we will have a case,” says Dr. Ahmed. “The way communicable diseases spread, we will get a case, there is no doubt about that.”

Ahmed says the likelihood Windsor-Essex will see a case is precisely why proactive measures to limit the spread — such as social distancing, washing hands, staying home when sick, avoiding gatherings, and self-isolating — are being persistently recommended.

“Those are all essential to reduce the impact of the spread,” says Dr. Ahmed. “So even if we have a case, when all these measures are in places, we will be protected.”

“If we don’t stay on guard,” says Dr. Ahmed, “we may see a devastating situation with many people impacted and potentially overloading the entire healthcare system.”

Dr. Ahmed says protective measures, plus the Health Unit’s plans, will keep the community safe.

“If and when a case comes, we are prepared to take swift action to ensure that we are keeping the community safe,” he said.

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
  • 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
  • Social distancing

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.

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.
  • 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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