The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit is alerting the public of two more potential COVID-19 exposures at businesses in Tecumseh and Windsor.
Late Tuesday afternoon, it said the public health unit had been notified that someone tested positive for the novel coronavirus, and had either worked, visited or attended the businesses while they were infectious.
Public health said it had determined there was a risk of exposure to the public and though the risk is low, it hasn't been able to complete contact tracing for the following businesses on the following dates:
- Xanadu Gym, at 446 Advance Ave., Tecumseh, on Aug. 22, 23, 24, 27, 29, 30
- Xaco Taco, at 300 Cabana Rd. E., Windsor, on Aug. 24 and 25.
These two businesses are in addition to the public exposures previously mentioned by public health earlier in the week.
Businesses breech mask policy
The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit has issued four non-compliance notices to local businesses that have violated the mask-wearing policy in place for commercial establishments.
During the health unit's daily COVID-19 briefing, the region's chief nursing officer Theresa Marentette said the notices of violation were issued after officers had already warned the establishments and educated them on COVID-19.
"This form of documentation allows for a written acknowledgement of both parties of the violation and corrective actions required. There are no fines associated with a notice of violation," a public health spokesperson confirmed to CBC Windsor.
In the past two weeks, Marentette said there were 123 inspections that were mostly related to non-compliance with the masking order and not physical distancing in a patio setting.
In total, 42 on-site COVID-19 related inspections were performed in August.
The health unit reported 12 new COVID-19 cases for Windsor-Essex Tuesday.
Six are the result of close contact with someone who had the disease, one is a retirement home resident and four others are still under investigation.
There are 90 active COVID-19 cases in Windsor-Essex, which are being monitored by the health unit, officials say.
Eighteen people are in hospital, an increase of 11 since Monday. This spike in hospitalizations is retirement home residents who have been moved from their facility so that they can better physically distance.
Ahmed said these residents don't need to be in hospital but the setting better allows them to be taken care of.
According to the health unit's website, Leamington's New Beginnings retirement home is the only care facility in outbreak.
As of Tuesday, 19 residents and six staff at the home have tested positive for COVID-19.
One manufacturing workplace in Tecumseh is currently in outbreak.
WATCH | The health unit's COVID-19 update for September 1:
The health unit launched a new section on its website Monday that will notify the public of a potential COVID-19 exposure after the weekend saw several local businesses flagged through health alerts.
From Friday through Sunday, the health unit issued three alerts warning of "low" transmission risk at six locations across Windsor-Essex. In each case, a customer or staff member has tested positive and the health unit wants anybody who may have come into contact with them to be alerted.
The affected businesses and dates include:
- Xanadu Gym at 446 Advance Blvd in Tecumseh on Aug. 19, 20, 21, 25 and 26.
- Tim Hortons at 5775 Malden Road in Windsor on Aug. 25.
- Spirit Halloween store in Devonshire Mall in Windsor on Aug. 25.
- Wineology on 19 Main St. E. in Kingsville on Aug. 21.
- El Diablo on 16 Main St. W. in Kingsville on Aug. 21.
- Muscedere Vineyards on County Rd. 18 in Harrow on Aug. 21.
"When these businesses are now opening up there are more opportunities for people to go out and interact with each other," Ahmed said. He added there's a responsibility to be "mindful of your own symptoms, if you're not feeling well you should take precautions, stay home, instead of putting others at risk."
He said that while the health unit identified the risk as low, these situations could easily have been a high risk had the businesses not followed appropriate safety protocols.
Some businesses were frustrated that the health unit hadn't notified them of a possible exposure before warning the public. Ahmed admitted that there was a delay in communication that he said was a result of the unit putting the public's health needs first.
Ahmed said the health unit is refining its processes so that it can better notify businesses and people, and said public health isn't looking to vilify any business. It just wants people to have the information they need to say healthy and safe.
"If we need to target a business, the message would be very different," said Ahmed. "It's not about any business, people can think whatever they want, we are trying to support our community in the best possible way and we'll continue to do that."
Teachers say they're facing many unknowns as they head back to school
Doug Garlick packed up his personal belongings Monday in his Pickering, Ont. classroom as he prepared for an uncertain school year amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
For the last few years, the 61-year-old has taught Grade 1 in the Durham District School Board. But this year, because of the danger the novel coronavirus poses to him due to his Crohn's disease and diabetes, he's teaching online.
But like so many teachers in Ontario, he still doesn't know what date classes will begin. He also doesn't know what grade he'll be teaching, or even how he'll be teaching it.
"We're not sure what platform we'll be using, what delivery method," he told CBC News over the phone. "There are many of us that are pretty close to panic at this stage, just not knowing what's going on."
All the uncertainty comes amid an escalating conflict between Ontario Premier Doug Ford's government and four major teachers' unions. While Garlick and many other teachers will be holding virtual classes, others are worried about how teaching in classrooms during the pandemic might endanger their health.
The dispute is now headed to the province's labour board as the unions allege Ontario's school reopening plan violates its own workplace safety laws.
3rd assessment centre to open
Starting Thursday, Windsor Regional Hospital plans to use the St. Clair College Sportsplex for COVID-19 testing, in advance of the Labour Day weekend. It will be open Thursday, Sept. 3 and Friday, Sept. 4 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
As of Tuesday, Sept. 8, the Sportsplex assessment centre will be open the same hours as the Ouellette Campus location: from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays, Sundays and statutory holidays.
COVID-19 in Sarnia-Lambton
Lambton Public Health reported one new case Monday. There have been a total of 339 cases in the region, with 311 resolved.
Twenty-five people have died.
COVID-19 in Chatham-Kent
Chatham-Kent Public Health reported one new case Monday. There have been a total of 363 positive cases, eight of which are still active.
Two people have died from the disease.