Public health nurses at the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit picketed at Windsor City Hall. Feb 25, 2018. (Photo by Paul Pedro)

WE health unit remains ready to deal with infectious diseases

The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit is calming any public fear surrounding infectious disease management during the public health nurses strike.

In a statement released Wednesday afternoon, health unit CEO and Chief Nursing Officer Theresa Marentette said the health unit remains ready in case of an outbreak.

“The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit remains prepared to address measles and other infectious diseases during the current labour disruption,” she said.

Marentette added there are currently no cases of measles in Windsor and Essex County.

“The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit will continue its important work in the prevention and management of infectious diseases during the current labour disruption,” Marentette said.

She is asking the community for patience and understanding as the health unit works to minimize service interruptions during the strike. She said the health and wellbeing of the community is the health unit’s top priority.

Local public health nurses hit the picket line on Friday. The Ontario Nurses Association (ONA) said the 86 nurses were forced out on strike after mediation failed to reach a new collective agreement. A wage increase is the key issue. The health unit said its final offer of three per cent over three years, plus increased benefits and no concessions is reasonable. The health unit is promising to make every effort to get back to the bargaining table to reach a fair deal.

The nurses provide a wide range of services, including delivering community programming and administering immunizations.

They have been without a contract since April of 2018.