Another big jump in COVID-19 cases among farmworkers

BlackburnNews.com file photo.

The Windsor Essex County Health Unit has reported its second highest daily number of new COVID-19 cases.

The health unit confirmed 88 new cases on Monday, 87 of which are linked to the agri-farm sector. This comes after the health unit reported 96 new cases in the agri-farm sector on Sunday.

All 183 cases are linked to a single farm in the region and were identified through mass testing at the farm.

Medical Officer of Health Dr. Wajid Ahmed said most of the individuals reported no symptoms at the time they were tested. However, at this time all are required to self-isolate until a health assessment is done by a public health nurse.

“It is important that the in-person health assessment is done, so our team will be out [Monday] and maybe [Tuesday] as well, to do that in-person assessment to make sure we are not putting anyone at risk,” said Dr. Ahmed.

Dr. Wajid said because of the type of test, a person who may have contracted the virus over a month ago may still be testing positive but they are longer infectious.

“With the high positives it would not be an unexpected finding that some of them have had previous infection that have already resolved but we can only say with certainty after doing all of these health assessments,” said Dr. Wajid.

Under current government protocols, truly asymptomatic people will be allowed to continue to work in the agri-farm sector. Dr. Wajid said every positive case will be self-isolating until the health unit determines they are safe to return to work.

Due to the escalation in cases, the health unit has requested assistance from other area health units and upper levels of government for support. Up to 10 new staff members from various health units in the province will now be assisting the WECHU.