All other On­tario re­gions in Stage 3 of COVID-19 pro­to­cols

Wind­sor and Es­sex County are stuck in Stage 2 of the prov­ince’s re­open­ing strat­egy for a while longer.

The On­tario gov­ern­ment an­nounced Tues­day morn­ing the re­gion would once again be pro­hib­ited from en­ter­ing Stage 3, some­thing every other part of On­tario did a week ago or ear­lier.

“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 Chris­tine El­liott, deputy premier and min­is­ter of health, in a news re­lease. “With the health and safety of the peo­ple of On­tario our ab­so­lute top pri­or­ity, Wind­sor-es­sex will re­main in Stage 2 un­til the data in­di­cates they can safely move to Stage 3.”

Public health of­fi­cials will con­tinue to “closely mon­i­tor and as­sess lo­cal trends of key public health in­di­ca­tors” be­fore the re­gion will be al­lowed to move safely into Stage 3, the news re­lease said. Those in­di­ca­tors in­clude lower trans­mis­sion of COVID-19, suf­fi­cient hos­pi­tal ca­pac­ity, public health ca­pac­ity to do rapid case and con­tact man­age­ment, and in­creased test­ing.

The prov­ince’s Emer­gency Med­i­cal As­sis­tance Team — de­ployed lo­cally in July to deal with out­breaks among agri­cul­tural food work­ers in Leam­ing­ton and Kingsville — con­tin­ues to pro­vide in­ci­dent man­age­ment and co-ordination to the lo­cal health unit sec­tor.

The prov­ince also has wheels turn­ing on a three-point plan to sup­port the Wind­sor-es­sex County Health Unit in re­duc­ing the risk of trans­mis­sion on farms and through­out the com­mu­nity, ac­cord­ing to the On­tario gov­ern­ment’s news re­lease.

That plan in­cludes “on­go­ing and ex­panded on-site test­ing, ac­cess to em­ploy­ment ben­e­fits and sup­ports, and public health guid­ance spe­cific to the agri-food set­ting.”

Dr. Wa­jid Ahmed, med­i­cal of­fi­cer of health for the Wind­sor-es­sex County Health Unit, said he ex­pects an­other an­nounce­ment from the prov­ince at the end of the week about whether or not the re­gion can join the rest of On­tario in Stage 3.

“The num­bers that we are see­ing right now are def­i­nitely bet­ter than what we were see­ing last week,” Ahmed said dur­ing the health unit’s daily video news con­fer­ence. “(If ) we would con­tinue to see less cases, that would be the strong­est in­di­ca­tor we can look at be­fore we move for­ward.”

Ahmed re­it­er­ated again this week that the health unit does not make a rec­om­men­da­tion to the prov­ince one way or an­other when it comes to Wind­sor-es­sex mov­ing into Stage 3. In­stead, public health shares lo­cal COVID-19 statis­tics and hos­pi­tal ca­pac­ity to the pro­vin­cial of­fi­cials, who are re­spon­si­ble for making the call.

“What we are see­ing is cases and ac­tiv­ity in a very spe­cific sec­tor, the agri­cul­tural sec­tor — those will come into dis­cus­sion and help us un­der­stand what the true risk to the com­mu­nity is,” Ahmed said. “Those con­ver­sa­tions will hap­pen and we hope to see some favourable re­sults soon.”

Ernie Harde­man, min­is­ter of agricultur­e, food and ru­ral af­fairs, said his branch of gov­ern­ment is also pro­vid­ing 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,” adding, “we are all work­ing to­gether to fight the spread of COVID -19 while pro­tect­ing our vi­tal food sup­ply chain and the health and safety of the peo­ple who put food on our ta­bles.”

Lo­cal health unit chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Theresa Mar­entette re­ported an ad­di­tional 10 cases of COVID-19 in the re­gion on Tues­day, bring­ing the re­gion’s to­tal case count to 2,350 since the pan­demic be­gan. Five of the new cases are agri-farm work­ers, one is a lo­cal health care worker, and three are mem­bers of the gen­eral com­mu­nity. The last case is still un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion by public health staff.

To date, 1,444 res­i­dents who have tested pos­i­tive for the novel coro­n­avirus have re­cov­ered, while 787 in­di­vid­u­als with ac­tive cases are self-iso­lat­ing.

Six­teen peo­ple with the virus are in hos­pi­tal, with three of them in in­ten­sive care.

No ad­di­tional deaths were re­ported Tues­day, leav­ing the num­ber of lives lost in the re­gion due to com­pli­ca­tions from COVID-19 at 71.

Two re­tire­ment homes are be­ing mon­i­tored for COVID-19 out­breaks. They are Chartwell Leam­ing­ton and Au­gus­tine Vil­las in Kingsville. Two staff mem­bers at each of the two fa­cil­i­ties have re­cently tested pos­i­tive for the virus.

In ad­di­tion to the re­tire­ment homes, 12 other work­places are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing out­breaks. Five are agri­cul­tural busi­nesses in Kingsville and Leam­ing­ton, and six are man­u­fac­tur­ing fa­cil­i­ties in Kingsville, Te­cum­seh, Leam­ing­ton and Wind­sor. The re­main­ing out­break is at a con­struc­tion fa­cil­ity in Leam­ing­ton. The health unit has not re­leased the names of any of the busi­nesses un­der out­break be­cause they do not pose a risk to the public’s health.


Brandon Kolody, co-owner of My Home­made Home Inc., works with his crew to build a pa­tio out­side Side­bar Lounge on Pelissier Street in down­town Wind­sor on Tues­day un­der Stage 2 re­open­ing guide­lines. There were 10 ad­di­tional coro­n­avirus cases in the re­gion re­ported Tues­day.

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