City sends staff across Windsor to help community manage COVID-19 workload

·2 min read

The City of Windsor is lending dozens of staff to different parts of the community struggling with the second wave of the pandemic, including the local health unit, a long-term care home and homeless shelters.

Staff will relieve administrative tasks at some key locations in Windsor that are dealing with COVID-19, according to a news release from the city Wednesday.

These tasks and locations include:

  • Helping the Salvation Army and Downtown Mission with logistical support.

  • Providing enhanced staff screening and non-medical administrative work at Huron Lodge long-term care home.

  • Supporting the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit through expanded front-line call centre services.

The Salvation Army in Windsor was declared in outbreak on Sunday, though the health unit says it will not disclose the number of cases at the shelter.

Huron Lodge long-term care home in Windsor has been in outbreak since Dec. 20 and as of Wednesday has 27 resident cases and eight staff cases, according to the health unit.

During the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit's COVID-19 briefing Tuesday, CEO Theresa Marentette said she has taken the city up on its offer to provide more staff and "relieve the pressure" on her team.

In particular, she said the city is helping them with their call centre to answer questions that are coming in from the public.

In an email to CBC News, the city said it doesn't know the exact number of staff but there are "dozens" who have been redeployed both internally and externally.

"At this time we can't determine how long these new responsibilities will last, but we do anticipate the need growing over the next few weeks," the city said, adding it continues to evaluate the situation.

"We are focused on providing administrative, logistical and other non-medical supports for those organizations that need a few extra pairs of hands, and to allow their trained staff to do the important work supporting residents."

The city said the decision to provide extra support was driven by the partnership its Community Control group, which has been dealing with the pandemic, has with community members.

"I want to thank all of those who are working through this holiday season to ensure that our front-line service delivery partners have the resources that they need to continue to function and provide quality public services as all organizations cope with the continuing impacts of this second wave," Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens said in a news release.

"Windsor is a community that stands together and supports each other in tough times and we are seeing this play out on a daily basis across our city."

The city said internally it has also redeployed staff to increase the frequency of cleaning and screening at city facilities and workplaces that remain open.