Agri-Farm Outbreaks Dominate Q and A at Windsor City Council

AM800-NEWS-HEALTH-UNIT-FRONT-ENTRANCE-WECHU-WINDSOR-MARCH2016

The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit has put its focus on containing outbreaks at Essex County farms and greenhouses.

Medical Officer of Health Dr. Wajid Ahmed and his staff held a question and answer period for Windsor City Council Thursday night that lasted more than an hour.

Ahmed provided an update for the entire region at the meeting, but with 479 positive COVID-19 tests in the regions agri-farm sector, council wanted to know how and if it will affect Windsor's recovery.

At one point the city accounted for 66% of cases in Essex County, but Ahmed says that dropped to 41% in the last 30 days.

"We've seen a significant shift from the cases with more than 80% from Leamington, Ont. and Kingsville, Ont. with Windsor, Ont. contributing only 12% of the cases in the entire county," he says.

There are currently outbreaks of two or more workers at seven farms in Essex County.

Ward 1 Councillor Fred Francis asked if focusing testing on at risk populations would push Windsor into Phase 3.

The health unit's Theresa Marentette says the number of contacts that need to be traced is twice as high as the average case with communal living on farms, so the health unit is already stretched to its limit.

"We've actually asked for help from other health units for case in contact management because our numbers are very high and they take a lot of our resources," she says.

Marentette says Ontario Health has taken over testing in the agri-farm sector.

"They are leading the testing right now and we have put forward other communal living requests and congregate settings also in our community that would like testing and all of those requests are now going to Ontario Health," added Marentette.

Ahmed says the focus in Windsor has switched to assuring businesses are opening safely during Phase 2 before pivoting the focus to Phase 3.