The Windsor Essex County Health Unit reported three new cases of COVID-19 for our area and no new deaths. Windsor-Essex now has the fourth highest rate of COVID-19 in Ontario — down a spot from last week's report — as the number of cases in the area slowly decreases.
Of the new cases, one person is a heath-care worker, one person is a farm worker, and the third case was in close contact of someone who had already tested positive for the disease.
Medical officer of health, Dr. Wajid Ahmed, started his Friday summary of COVID-19 in our area by warning that any protestors in Windsor-Essex should take precautions.
"While large gatherings are not recommended and should generally be avoided ... any attendee must wear a non-medical surgical mask and clean hands regularly," said Ahmed.
He said those who are sick or have been told to self isolate should not participate. People should maintain a two-metre distance and avoid shouting or yelling so they don't dampen their masks.
Where we are on the curve
Ahmed reported an increase of cases following the Victoria Day long weekend, saying cases in workers in the agricultural and farm industry have also spiked.
There have now been 999 reported cases of COVID-19 in our region, with 567 of those cases being resolved.
Windsor-Essex now has the fourth-highest rate of the disease in Ontario, and remains above the provincial rates for COVID-19.
He attributes these high numbers to the large elderly population in the area, and now due to the increase in farm workers which amounts to about 18 per cent of all cases in the area.
Ahmed said that over the last week, men have had a significantly higher rate of new cases, as have younger people aged 20 to 29-years-old. He said members of these groups should take more precautions.
Of the 66 people who have died in Windsor-Essex, 49 of those individuals were residents in long-term care homes.
One long-term care home remains under an outbreak — Heron Terrace in Windsor.
Ahmed said residents of long-term care homes would be tested twice in the month of June, following directives from the province. But the health unit does not have exact dates for when that testing will take place.
WATCH | The health unit's COVID-19 update for June 5:
Several Essex County migrant workers have been hospitalized with COVID-19. The news comes days after the death of a 31-year-old farm worker from Mexico.
The Leamington hospital, Erie Shores HealthCare, went to hotels where COVID-19-positive workers are staying in self-isolation, to check on their condition.
After a board meeting, Windsor Regional Hospital president and CEO David Musyj said he is staying abreast of the initiative, and said six workers have now been admitted to hospital.
"One of the six who wasn't visited by Erie Shores, but simultaneously came to Windsor Regional Hospital, is a 25-year-old, and he is not doing well. He's now in critical care.
Ahmed said the cases in migrant workers have come from community spread.
"Some may think they are bringing it to this country, no they are not," said Ahmed, explaining workers acquired the virus here in Canada.
Drive-thru testing in Essex County
Drive-thru COVID-19 testing will be in Tecumseh Friday at the corner of Manning and Tecumseh Roads from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
More than 400 people were tested in Kingsville on Wednesday and another 500 people were tested in Essex on Tuesday. Another 1,700 were tested in Windsor over the weekend. On Thursday, the health units were in Amherstburg.
No testing has come back from the community random swabbing, said medical officer of health Dr. Wajid Ahmed, who anticipates results by next Friday.
Premier praises health unit
Premier Doug Ford acknowledged the "great work" Windsor's health unit has been doing, during his daily provincial press conference.
"You guys are absolute champs," Ford said. "I hear they're going to the Chrysler assembly facility as well to test people. That's what we need to do."
WATCH | Premier Ford praises Windsor-Essex for testing efforts:
Last month, Windsor was identified as one of Ontario's hardest-hit regions for COVID-19.
Ford said in early May that some regions weren't doing enough testing and blamed the medical officers, suggesting they pick up the pace.
The nod also comes after emails revealed a pandemic showdown between Ahmed and Musyj.
Testing centres open 7 days a week
The health unit said testing is available at two assessment centres in Windsor-Essex. People that have at least one symptom of the virus, and people who are asymptomatic but are at risk of contracting the virus can be tested.
Windsor Regional Hospital has went back to usual testing hours, after briefly extending them due to an increase in the volume of people looking to be tested.
The assessment centre at the Ouellette Campus next to the Emergency Department is open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Friday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
The assessment centre at Erie Shores HealthCare is open from Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
COVID-19 in Sarnia-Lambton
Lambton Public Health reported 267 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the region. Overall, 24 people have died.
Another 217 people have recovered.
An outbreak at Vision Nursing Home in Sarnia continues with 26 residents in total testing positive for the disease and 25 staff members.
Nine residents in total have died at Vision Nursing Home.
COVID-19 in Chatham-Kent
Chatham-Kent's health unit reported 147 cases of COVID-19 for that community, with the majority of them linked to an outbreak at Greenhill Produce.
There are now 103 workers at the facility who have tested positive for COVID-19. An outbreak was investigated at the end of April, when about 40 cases of the disease were discovered among workers at the greenhouse operation.
Only three of those cases are still active, according to CK Public Health. Another 100 workers have recovered.
In Chatham-Kent, one person has died due to COVID-19 and 140 people have recovered.