Heat warning issued for Windsor-Essex, temporary cooling centres open

Windsor-Essex is under a heat warning for the next two days prompting the City of Windsor to open temporary cool shelters. 

The decision made my Dr. Wajid Ahmed, medical officer of health for the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit based on projections by Environment Canada.

A heat warning is issued when two consecutive days are forecasted to have a daytime high temperature greater than or equal to 31°C and overnight temperatures greater than or equal to 21°C or a humidex of 42 or greater.

The City of Windsor is opening a temporary cooling centre for residents unable to find relief from the heat at home or by using one of the seven city splash pads.

Effective Saturday, the atrium of the Windsor International Aquatic and Training Centre (WIATC) Presented by WFCU Credit Union at 401 Pitt Street West will open as a temporary cooling centre.

“The city wants to make some options available for residents so that they have a place to go if they are living in an accommodation which may not have air conditioning or may not be very cool,” said Windsor’s manager of social policy and planning Mary Ellen Bernard.

Bernard said the centre will only be open when a heat warning has been issued and just like last summer, all of the COVID-19 protocols are in place.

“They can sit at any of the tables, they are spaced apart appropriately,” said Bernard. “The health unit has been through and made sure everything is adhering to infection control.”

Advanced COVID-related screening of all visitors will be in effect upon entry, and masks are mandatory for all attendees. In an effort to ensure physical distancing can be adhered to, it is asked that residents attend this site only if they have no other options.

City staff will be on site to assist those attending the location.

Attendees are welcome to bring food or reading materials, as none are currently available on site. The centre will be open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. starting Saturday and is scheduled to remain open until the heat warning is lifted by the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit.

As an additional reminder, the H4 (Housing, Homelessness Help Hub) day program at Windsor Water World remains open and available for individuals in our community who are experiencing homelessness. This location, while providing shelter from the heat, also allows for more physical distancing within our shelter system. The program is open, with capacity limits, seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

General COVID-19 Safety Reminders:

• Stay 2 metres away from others.

• Don’t crowd others when standing in line.

• Wear a mask when social distancing is difficult and in commercial buildings.

• Wash your hands frequently and don’t touch your face.

• Carry hand sanitizer.

The health unit is recommended the following:

• Monitor local weather forecasts and warnings regularly

• Drink plenty of water, even if you don’t feel thirsty

• Wear a wide-brimmed hat and lightweight, loose-fitting clothing

• Take a cool bath or shower

• Limit outdoor activities to the coolest part of the day

• Do not leave children, adults or pets in parked cars

• Stay connected with family members, neighbours or friends during very hot days in case they need assistance

• Look for shade or a cool shelter in an air-conditioned location if available.

• Learn about ways to keep your home cool during the summer (e.g., keep window shades or drapes drawn and blinds closed on the sunny side of your home). If you have an air conditioner, make sure it works properly before the hot weather starts.