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Health Unit Issues Order To Agricultural Farm Owners, Operators In Windsor-Essex

Tuesday May 26th, 2020, 1:56pm

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The Windsor Essex County Health Unit is ordering local agricultural operations to limit employees to working in one facility along with other measures to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Dr. Wajid Ahmed, Medical Officer of Health issued the order, under section 22 (5.01) of the Health Promotion and Protection Act, effective 12:01am on May 27th, 2020 for all owners/operators of agricultural farms in Windsor and Essex County who:

  • Employ migrant farm workers;
  • Participate in the federal Temporary Foreign Worker program (TFW); and/or
  • Operate any model of seasonal housing accommodations.

Health Unit officials say their data shows that Windsor-Essex’s agricultural farms are “high-risk settings for the spread of COVID-19” and the order “identifies measures deemed necessary to mitigate or eliminate the risks to health associated with COVID-19.”

Under the order, all employees, including contract employees, will be required to work exclusively at only one workplace and those “employed at more than one facility must immediately limit to one premise.”

The order also requires agricultural owners and operators in Windsor-Essex to ensure they have accurate and updated contact information for all employees so that it can be made available to the Health Unit “within 24 hours of a request in support of case management and contact tracing requirements.”

The order further requires “adhere to all directions provided by Windsor-Essex Health Unit” including “self-isolation orders issued to employees, active screening, physical distancing in the workplace and supporting disease investigation.”

The Health Unit says failure to comply with the order can result in fines to individual owners and operators “up to $5,000.00 for every day or part of each day on which the offence occurs or continues.”

Dr. Ahmed said Tuesday morning the number of agricultural employees who have contracted COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic is between 90 and 100.  Thirty-three of those confirmed COVID-19 cases among agricultural workers were reported Monday.

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