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Pilot Project For On-Site COVID-19 Testing At Regional Farms Begins In Leamington

Monday June 22nd, 2020, 4:23pm


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On-site testing for COVID-19 at Leamington farms is underway.

Originally on June 9th a targeted testing initiative for workers in the agri-food industry was launched at the Leamington recreation complex, with a process designed to test up to 700 workers per day.

Resulting from employer concerns regarding transportation, this initiative was extended in pilot form to an “on-farm” trial on June 20th at a local volunteer Greenhouse operation.

The process includes swabbing 75 to 80 people per hour with 40 staff required for the single location as a result of need for continuous cooling breaks.

Staff comprised of members from Erie Shores Healthcare, Windsor Regional Hospital, and Hotel Dieu Grace Healthcare, Ontario Health West Region, Erie St. Clair LHIN Home and Community Care and EMS, with the assistance of interpreters from the Migrant Worker Community Program.

In a news release,  Erie Shores Healthcare says that two additional farms have confirmed interest in on-site testing on Tuesday and Wednesday.

“Testing of Agri-food employees of the 176 identified farms in the region will require pro-active efforts by employers to either attend an Assessment Centre or agree to an on-site testing opportunity. We will continue to provide as much access to service as possible to facilitate the process for those employers who are taking initiative to ensure their employees are tested,” said Arms Bumanlag, Director of Communications & Public Relations for Erie Shores Healthcare.

“Based on the pilot, it is evident that on farm testing can be completed but will require resources currently outside of the existing local infrastructure. Expansive testing in the ‘on-farm’ setting will require multiple teams at multiple farms functioning simultaneously with additional translators and cooling stations. We, as local health partners continue to collaborate with Ontario Health to design models of delivery which will be both effective and efficient,” said Bumanlag.

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