Eight out of nine beaches tested in Windsor-Essex cleared for swimming

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E. coli forces closure of two beaches in Windsor-Essex this week

Initial sample results from the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit have concluded eight of nine beaches in the area are safe for swimming.

Beach water samples were taken by the health unit Monday from nine beaches across Windsor and Essex County. The samples were then sent to the public health lab in London, Ont. for E.coli analysis.

Results were released Wednesday and show the water is safe at every tested beach — except for Mettawas Beach.

Beach water samples were taken from:

- Belle River Beach (Lakeshore)

- Cedar Beach (Kingsville)

- Cedar Island Beach (Kingsville)

- Colchester Beach (Essex)

- Holiday Beach (Essex)

- Mettawas Beach (Kingsville)

- Northwest Beach (Point Pelee)

- Sandpoint Beach (Windsor)

- Seacliff Park Beach (Leamington)

"The public needs to be aware of the risks involved in swimming at any beach. The health unit provides E.coli bacteria counts from samples taken on Mondays, so that people can decide if they should go in the water or stay on the beach," public health inspector Jenny Tan said.

Beaches must post a warning or a closure sign if the water sampling results show higher-than-acceptable levels of E. coli bacteria.

"Swimming or playing in unsafe water may result in illnesses such as minor skin, eye, ear, nose, and throat infections or diarrhea." said Wajid Ahmed, acting medical officer at the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit.

"Those most at risk are children, elderly, and those with weakened immune system."

Mettawas Beach has been given a yellow warning flag — meaning it will still remain open to the public.

Water samples are taken every Monday during the summer. If the beach is closed due to high E. coli levels, the water will be sampled again later in the same week.

The health unit also advises people to avoid swimming after a heavy rainfall, as pollution in beach water is often much higher during and/or right after rainstorms.