Medical Officer of Health on leave for two weeks: WECHU
WINDSOR, ONT. -- The Medical Officer of Health for the Windsor Essex County Health Unit (WECHU) is taking a two week leave.
Dr. Wajid Ahmed has been the medical leader for the community throughout the pandemic.
His leave was requested Wednesday afternoon and was immediately granted.
"Medical Officer of Health Dr. Wajid Ahmed is on a leave for 2 weeks. The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit will be receiving Medical Officer of Health support from other public health units during his absence. No further details about the leave will be shared,” said WECHU CEO Theresa Marentette in a statement.
Marentette talked about Ahmed’s contributions during the pandemic over the past year during Thursday morning’s media briefing.
“They’re huge, they’re significant contributions that you know for decisions for our community at different times,” said Marentette.
She added that the role bares a sacrifice on a personal level, such as time with family.
“I just know that every moment, Dr. Ahmed has been accessible and available and working on the pandemic and there’s never been a down time for Windsor,” says Marentette.
Toronto’s associate medical officer of health has been notified of the leave and may be providing assistance during that time remotely.
Marentette added she has access to another person that assisted them before in the pandemic. The region has had an associate medical officer of health in the past, but not currently.
“Promising candidates but they never ended up coming to the area so we will continue to recruit for an associate,” said Marentette.
Chatham-Kent health officer David Colby said he would also be available if needed.
“I haven’t been physically asked to do anything, but if I am asked I will help to the best of my ability,” said Colby.
WECHU board chair Gary McNamara says over the last 12 months there has been enormous pressure on Ahmed.
“I don’t know of any human being that doesn’t need time to at least recharge their batteries,” says McNamara.
A recent survey by the Canadian Medical Association shows some of Canada’s doctors are feeling high levels of fatigue and anxiety one year into the pandemic.
Speaking to AM800’s Mike and Lisa Thursday morning, McNamara said the area is in a great position when dealing with the pandemic - a credit to Ahmed.
“There’s a lot of things to be thankful for the health unit and sometimes those go unnoticed. I’m very proud of Dr. Ahmed,” said McNamara.
“When decisions have to be made very very quickly, there’s always collateral damage. I mean we all feel badly for the businesses that are shuttered.”
Health care and emergency officials met Thursday to discuss a plan going forward, in particular with the latest vaccine rollout while Ahmed is on leave.
“We’re gonna nail down, this is the plan,” said Windsor Regional Hospital CEO David Musyj. “This is what needs to get done. This is how we’re going to plot this out over the next two weeks, three weeks, four weeks.”
With files from CTV Windsor's Angelo Aversa and Melanie Borrelli.