Blame Game Needs to Stop says Local Medical Officer of Health

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WINDSOR—The local Medical Officer of Health is getting sick and tired of the blame game surrounding the testing of migrant workers in Essex County.

On Monday, both Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens and Windsor Regional Hospital CEO David Musyj called for mandatory testing of migrant workers because of the poor turnout at the assessment centre in Leamington.

But Speaking on AM800's the Morning Drive, Medical Officer of Health Dr. Wajid Ahmed says testing is only one component of the problem.

He believes the main problems are the accommodation of these workers,  as sometimes 15 of them live together along with enforcement and educating the workers about the issues.

Dr. Ahmed points out there is no mandatory testing, anywhere in Canada, unless there is a risk to public health.

He points out any directive needs to come from the province and there needs to be more collaboration with farm owners and operators.

"We need to go ahead and find a solution, work together, figure out where are the gaps, who is not doing what, and where are those gaps that no one is responsible for and figure out a way to address it," says Dr. Ahmed. "We need to have those conversations and it is unfortunate that is it not happening."

Dr. Ahmed says the blame game needs to stop.

"None of these politicians, no one has ever asked how public health is doing with the influx of cases. Right now it is just a blame game and I'm not happy with what is happening right now."

Meanwhile, Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens believes the health unit needs to do more saying it is the only group in our region that has the legislative authority to make things happen.

"When I look at what they [health unit] are not doing to get us over the hump and I look at what the impact is in my city and the businesses in my city being held back, that's where I'm concerned," says Mayor Dilkens.  "All I want is to use the legislative authority that is given to them, to undertake the required action to  help deal with the population that is very sick."

Dilkens goes on to say this isn't good for the future of the local health unit.

"I know the premier has already indicated that the system with 34 health units isn't working," he adds. 'The fact that the Mexican government is even saying we are not sending people anymore, will give more ammunition to make a change."

Two local farm workers, a 24-year-old and a 31-year-old, have died from COVID-19.   

Of all the recent cases lately, the majority are agri-food workers.

The Migrant Worker Assessment Centre in Leamington was hoping to test up to 4,000 workers by Monday, June 15th, but only 600 showed up to be swabbed.

It was annouced on Tuesday morning that death of two temporary foreign workers in Windsor-Essex due to COVID-19 has led to a ban on workers entering the county from Mexico.