Wind­sor-Es­sex stuck in Stage 2 of re­open­ing

National Post (National Edition) - - CANADA - JONATHAN BRADLEY Na­tional Post, with files from the Wind­sor Star

The On­tario gov­ern­ment said Wind­sor-Es­sex will stay in Stage 2 of On­tario’s COVID-19 re­open­ing strat­egy for now, mak­ing it one of the last places in Canada to be given a green light to ease tight lock­down re­stric­tions.

In its an­nounce­ment on Tues­day, the On­tario gov­ern­ment said that Wind­sor-Es­sex will not en­ter Stage 3 of re­open­ing be­cause of on­go­ing out­breaks among work­ers in the agri­cul­ture and agri-food sec­tors.

Wind­sor-Es­sex is the last re­gion in On­tario to ad­vance to Stage 3. Toronto and Peel re­gion ad­vanced to Stage 3 on Fri­day. While each prov­ince and ter­ri­tory has a dif­fer­ent re­open­ing sys­tem, Wind­sor-Es­sex re­mains one of the fur­thest be­hind re­gions in Canada in deal­ing with COVID-19.

Wind­sor-Es­sex has re­ported 2,350 cases and 71 deaths from COVID-19. There were 10 cases of COVID-19 on Tues­day.

In On­tario, Stage 2 means peo­ple can go to places such as places of wor­ship, out­door restau­rants, and some per­sonal care ser­vices, but must limit so­cial gath­er­ings up to 10 peo­ple and main­tain phys­i­cal dis­tanc­ing. Stage 3 would al­low places such as gyms, indoor restau­rants, and many fa­cial and spa ser­vices to re­open.

This de­ci­sion to keep the re­gion back in order to mon­i­tor local trans­mis­sion of COVID-19 was made in con­sul­ta­tion with the On­tario chief med­i­cal of­fi­cer of health, Wind­sor-Es­sex’s chief med­i­cal of­fi­cer of health, other health ex­perts and local au­thor­i­ties.

“We are work­ing hard with our fed­eral and local part­ners to pro­vide the com­mu­ni­ties in Wind­sor-Es­sex with the sup­port they need dur­ing their re­open­ing,” said Min­is­ter of Health Chris­tine El­liott in the an­nounce­ment.

On­tario de­ployed the Emer­gency Med­i­cal As­sis­tance Team (EMAT) to Wind­sor-Es­sex in July to pro­vide in­ci­dent man­age­ment sup­port and co-ordination with the health sec­tor in the area. The prov­ince is also im­ple­ment­ing a three-point plan to re­duce the risk of trans­mis­sion on farms and through­out the com­mu­nity. Min­is­ter of Agri­cul­ture, Food, and Ru­ral Af­fairs Ernie Harde­man said this plan con­sists of ex­panded on-site test­ing, ac­cess to em­ploy­ment ben­e­fits and sup­ports, and pub­lic health guid­ance. “We con­tinue to take ac­tion to ad­dress out­breaks in the re­gion and pro­vide our farm­ers and agribusi­nesses in Wind­sor-Es­sex with the help, tools and resources nec­es­sary to en­sure the safety and well-be­ing of their work­ers and em­ploy­ees,” said Harde­man.

It re­mains un­clear when Wind­sor-Es­sex will be en­ter­ing Stage 3 of re­open­ing. The an­nounce­ment said pub­lic health ex­perts will “con­tinue to closely mon­i­tor and as­sess local trends of key pub­lic health in­di­ca­tors, in­clud­ing lower trans­mis­sion of COVID-19, suf­fi­cient hos­pi­tal ca­pac­ity, pub­lic health ca­pac­ity to do rapid case and con­tact man­age­ment, and in­creased test­ing, be­fore ad­vis­ing when the re­gion can move safely into Stage 3.”

Ernie Harde­man

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