City procuring second hotel to isolate temporary foreign workers

Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens on May 3, 2019. Photo by Mark Brown/Blackburn News.

It is still waiting to hear from the federal government about funding its first Isolation and Recovery Centre, and now, the City of Windsor expects to open a second.

Mayor Drew Dilkens said the city could sign papers on Friday to procure another 300 rooms at a second hotel so temporary foreign workers can isolate themselves with COVID-19 without the fear of spreading it to others.

Funding for the first centre runs out at the end of March, and the city needs $17.8-million to keep it open for another year.

Earlier this week, the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit imposed a pause on bringing any more temporary foreign workers into the region as the number of those testing positive for COVID-19 swelled.

Farmers in the region expected about 2,000 over the next three weeks.

Calling it a public health emergency, Acting Medical Officer of Health Doctor Shanker Nesathurai said 275 were isolating.

Meanwhile, Windsor West MP Brian Masse increased the pressure on the Trudeau government. A letter addressed to the federal Health and Immigration Ministers also demanded an immediate commitment to funding and called it “a fundamental public health measure.”

The Red Cross has a contract with the federal government to operate the centre, although the city has provided five staff members.