WECHU staff experiencing increased harassment

Windsor-Essex County Health Unit, Windsor, January 16, 2020. Photo by Mark Brown, Blackburn News.

Executives at the Windsor Essex County Health Unit are urging the public to show respect and decorum when interacting with health unit staff.

CEO Nicole Dupuis has indicated that, over the past several weeks, they have seen an increase in the use of vulgar language and threats of physical violence toward staff members.

“These are people doing their jobs. They are doing their best for the community and abuse, violence, and threats are not appropriate,” said Dupuis.

On some occasions, police have been notified when threats have been issued. The threats have been made online and in-person at vaccination clinics.

Due to the increased level of threats, the health unit has turned off commenting on its social media channels. Dupuis encourages individuals to call or email health unit staff if they would like to voice concerns or if they have questions.

“Our staff are here to listen, to answer questions, and provide care and support. However, we will not respond to, nor tolerate harassing or threatening actions towards our staff,” said Dupuis.

On Wednesday, the health unit reported 31 new cases of COVID-19 in the community. Of the new cases, 20 are close contacts of previously confirmed cases, eight were community-acquired, one case is travel-related, one is outbreak-related, and one case is still under investigation.

There are currently 247 active cases of COVID-19 in the community. Local hospitals are treating 11 patients who have tested positive for the virus.

The health unit is monitoring 21 active outbreaks in the community.