New recommendations for Windsor-Essex to slow COVID-19 spread
Published Tuesday, March 17, 2020 10:42AM EDT Last Updated Tuesday, March 17, 2020 5:56PM EDT
Dr. Wajid Ahmed, the medical officer of health with the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit, updates reporters as to the local response to the COVID-19 pandemic on March 17, 2020. (Bob Bellacicco/CTV Windsor)
WINDSOR, ONT. -- The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit is strengthening its recommendations to slow the spread of COVID-19, even as the region remains without a confirmed case of the virus.
On Tuesday, Dr. Wajid Ahmed announced 93 people have been tested for the novel coronavirus, of which 37 tests remain pending. Ahmed says every completed test done in Windsor-Essex has come back negative for the virus.
As of 12 p.m., there are 449 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Canada and 185 in Ontario.
“Right now we have a window of opportunity to flatten the curve and slow the spread of COVID-19. We have to put public safety and community good over the bottom line," said Dr. Ahmed in a statement. "Every agency, workplace, leader and individual has a role to play in protecting the health and well-being of our community.”
The health unit has updated its recommendations for residents in Windsor-Essex to include recommended closures of bars and restuarants and to stress the importance of social distancing:
• Practice social distancing (2m distance from others)
• Bars, restaurants, nightclubs and Royal Canadian Legions should close, at minimum for St. Patrick’s Day, cancelling large scale events
• All area businesses should exclude workers for 14 days following travel outside of Canada and move to work from home where feasible
• Essential workers should report travel outside of Canada to their employer and self-monitor if asymptomatic, including daily temperature reading.
• Seniors and high risk individuals should avoid any non-essential trips and stay home as much as possible
• Anyone travelling outside of Canada with children should self-isolate for 14 days upon return
• Commuters that cross to Detroit for work purposes should consider work from home options with their employer where possible and regularly self-monitor for any symptoms including taking their temperature.
• Physicians should screen clients over the phone and refer as appropriate.
• Create an emergency preparedness plan to ensure you have what you need in case of self-isolation.
• Wash hands with soap & water thoroughly and often.
• Cough or sneeze into your sleeve or a tissue. Dispose of tissue immediately and wash your hands.
• Keep surfaces clean and disinfected.
• Stay home when you are sick; call your health care provider for advice and take the online self assessment tool for COVID-19
The recommendations from Dr. Ahmed more align with Ontario’s top doctor and the province’s newly announced state of emergency:
• All non-essential travel outside of Canada be suspended.
• Anyone traveling outside of Canada should self-isolate for 14 days upon return. If symptoms develop during self-isolation, including fever and/or cough call public health at 519-258-2146 ext. 1420.
• Healthcare workers and/or other essential workers are asked to self-monitor for any symptoms
• School Closures for two weeks following March Break.
• Closure of all recreational programs and libraries.
• Closure of all private schools
• Closure of all churches and other faith settings
• All bars and restaurants, with the exception of restaurants that can shift to takeout/delivery mechanisms.
• Long Term Care, Retirement Facilities, Hospice, and residential care facilities only permit essential visitors and actively screen visitors for symptoms and travel history, excluding entry if failed screening.
• Immediately suspending all large events or public gatherings of 50 people or more.
• University, Colleges and workplaces consider virtual options.
A self-assessment tool has been made available online by the Ontario government.
There is also a COVID-19 assessment centre at Windsor Regional Hospital’s Ouellette campus, one of 17 across the province. It’s opened from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Only those that meet the testing criteria will be given a test. Anyone else who suspects they may have the virus is asked to call their primary care healthcare provider or Telehealth Ontario toll free at 1-866-797-0000.
For more information, residents are advised to call the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit at 519-258-2146 ext. 1420 or to fill out an online form.