We're Hanging in There: Leamington Mayor Hilda MacDonald

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The push continues to get Leamington and Kingsville into Stage 2 of the province’s reopening framework with the rest of Windsor-Essex.

The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit reported on Sunday that 96 of 98 new cases of COVID-19 were from workers in the agri-farm sector.

Speaking on AM800's The Morning Drive, Leamington Mayor Hilda MacDonald said that they're not shocked by the numbers.

“That does mean that agricultural workers are being tested but to hear the numbers is difficult," she says. "We've also had some response from outside the community where people say 'oh, you're from Leamington? We don't want you to come here,' and that's been very disheartening."

MacDonald says she has been in touch with members of the upper levels of government.

“We spoke with the Federal Minister of Health on Friday and I spoke with Premier Ford last night, again,” she says. “They are sending us lots of resources, there are folks going to be here today actually, extra health unit folks from different regions."

When it comes to when the two municipalities can move into Stage 2, MacDonald says she is hoping it will be within the next two weeks with restrictions in place for farming areas.

“That's what I'm hoping for,” she says. “The premier said that's still his primary concern, to get us to Stage 2 and heavy concentration of health assessments, continued swabbing with the [agriculture] industry and isolation of that workforce on the job as well as in the housing component."

The health unit attributes the increase positive tests in the agri-farm community with targeted asymptomatic testing that occurred at farms last week.

A rally was held in Leamington over the weekend in support of migrant workers in Essex County's agri-farm sector.