Blog,  Health

May 4, 2020 Public Health Updates Related to Coronavirus (COVID-19)

– Welcome everyone, thankyou for joining us today.

I'm Theresa Marentette, CEOand Chief Nursing Officer of the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit.

For those of you who areawaiting results for COVID-19, please check the Ministryof Health's online portal or the link on our website.

Please note that our health unit staff will follow-up with youto provide your results.

Please remember that while youare waiting for your results, you must remain in self-isolation.

Overall, 8, 175 individualshave tested positive for, have been tested for COVID-19.

Currently, we have 1, 379tests that are pending.

I will now share themost current case counts.

There are 59, 474 confirmedcases of COVID-19 in Canada, and 17, 533 cases in Ontario.

Chatham-Kent has 88 cases, and Sarnia-Lambton has reported 189 cases.

Michigan now has 43, 754 cases with 9, 386 cases being in Detroit.

Today, we are reporting641 cases of COVID-19 in our community, an increaseof 18 cases from yesterday.

42% of our cases have occurredin long-term care homes, including both residents and staff.

202 cases are resolved.

17 people are in hospital.

16% of our total cases are between the ages of 20 and 29 years.

16% are between the ages of 50 and 59 and 22% of our casesare 80 years and older.

40% are male, 59% arefemale, and 1% is unknown.

Our community has lost atotal of 54 people to COVID.

40 deaths have occurred among residents in long-term care and retirement homes.

Our health unit is now workingwith eight long-term care and retirement homes that are currently experiencingCOVID-19 outbreaks.

Testing for COVID-19 isbased on clinical assessment.

The symptoms include fever, cough, difficulty breathing, however; other symptoms may be present, such as being extremelytired, falling, nausea, vomiting, chills, headaches.

If you are feeling unwell and need to seek a healthassessment for COVID-19, there are several of options.

Complete the online self-assessment tool available at ontario.

ca, contact Telehealth Ontario, or call your primary care provider for a phone or virtual assessment.

They will be able toguide you in next steps, including contacting public health or attending an assessment center.

To access a local health care provider, walk-in clinic or virtualmedical assessment, please visit ehealthwindsoressex.

ca.

Windsor-Essex has two assessment centers, Erie Shores HealthCare in Leamington and Windsor RegionalHospital Ouellette Campus.

Please note that testing is available for people who have symptoms of COVID-19.

Please continue to visit wechu.

org for the most currentinformation and case counts.

I will now turn it overto Dr.

Wajid Ahmed, our Medical Officer of Health for further updates regarding COVID-19.

– Good morning everyone.

As you've seen, the number of cases in the 20 to 29 age group is increasing, which now constitutes 16%of our total case count.

A majority of those casesare in health care worker, but I would like to take this opportunity to remind everyone, even theyounger one in that age group, to take appropriate precaution to protect themself from COVID-19 because when you're protectingyourself from COVID-19, you're not protecting yourself alone.

You're also protecting yourfamily, your loved ones and the people who are around you.

So please take your time toprotect yourself from COVID-19 by taking all the precautionsincluding physical distancing, hand washing and maintaininggood respiratory etiquette.

I regret to report the loss ofthree more community members, three more deaths in the community members related to COVID-19.

A female in her 90s, a female in her 80s and a male in his 60s.

They all passed away yesterday.

All these three individuals were resident of long-term care home.

I share my sympathieswith all the families who are grieving the loss of a loved one.

Our thoughts, our prayersare with the family.

The WECHU continues to monitorall 44 long-term care homes and retirement home in Windsor and Essex.

There's a lot of informationto take in related to COVID-19, and it changes rapidly.

The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit is constantly updating theinformation on our website to ensure that the residentsof Windsor and Essex have access to most up-to-date, credible information for COVID-19 in our community.

The information that we are presenting, it's easy to understand and sometimes alsoincludes question raised by our community members.

The local update page on ourwebsite has been improved with visuals for easy understanding.

We've also added a newsection under Healthy at Home.

This section cover importanthealth promotion topics such as mental health, sleep, physical activity, food and nutrition andpregnancy and breastfeeding.

The frequently asked questions section is also updated regularly.

Please visit our websiteto access most up-to-date and current information onCOVID-19 in our community, thank you.

– [Woman] The conference is now — – [Man] We'll now takequestions from the media.

We'll start with the Windsor Star.

– [Woman] I'm okay right now, thank you.

– [Man] CBC? – [Woman] You're websiteseems to have crashed on me, what is the new longtermcare home that's in outbreak? – I think.

.

.

Think we added one more facility under the longterm care outbreak, which is the Village of St.

Clair.

Yeah.

And it makes it a total ofeight longterm care homes that are currently in outbreak.

– [Woman] Would you havethe number of how many staff or residents are, have the virus? – The new home, it's only one staff.

– [Woman] Of the recent positive cases, how many of those are community versus how many are in longterm care? – Right now we're stillgetting more details about these cases.

Majority of them, itseems like it is, again, from the longterm care home.

We have ramped up testingin the longterm care homes and doing mass testing atmany of the facilities.

Most of the cases that we are getting are from those facilities.

I can't give you anexact answer on how many.

Hopefully by tomorrowwe'll have a better answer on the exact breakdown of these cases.

– [Woman] And I think it wasFriday, it almost doubled in the amount of pending results.

Is that because you did another sweep of the longterm care and retirement homes? – That is correct.

Even over the Saturdayand Sunday and today, we are doing number of longterm care homes and retirement home mass testing.

And those test numbers are being anywhere between 300 and 400 every day.

And we are getting the results back, but also we are doingmuch more testing as well.

– [Woman] Okay, thank you.

– [Man] Any questions from Blackburn? – [Woman] Yeah, just tofollow-up on your latest comment.

I think people are concerned, they keep seeing the samenumber of pending tests around that 1300 mark the last, I guess, three or four days I would see.

So, just, I mean, what canyou say to reassure people that even though you aresitting around the same number, it's just that you'redoing that many more tests.

You're still getting results back daily, you're still, you're notfeeling, I guess, concerned with the number of tests you have pending? – Well absolutely I am concerned that we want to get the testresults as quickly as possible.

There are number of conversation happening at multiple level, and Ihave raised this concerns with various levels ofthe government as well, that we need those testresults back quickly.

And as much as we want to get all those longterm carehomes and all the residents and the staff tested at those facilities, but I am also interested in getting those results back quickly.

So, there are number of conversations that are happening right now and our hope is that all this will improve as we move forward because everyone at the different levelsof the government know that it's not only just us.

Almost every health unitand every longterm care home and retirement home are getting tested.

And there are significantnumber of improvement that happened over the last few days and we're expecting thatit will continue to happen in the next coming daysto increase the capacity to make sure that weare getting the results in a short period of time.

The number of positive thatwe received over the weekend, it include many of the test that were conducted two to three days ago.

And again, it's just aprioritization piece.

We are working with the lab to get those results quickly back to us.

– [Woman] You said you'redoing those mass sweeps, you're doing 300 to 400 tests a day.

About how many do you get back daily? – I'd say if you do that math, I think we are getting back over the weekend, I would say, roughly 300, 400 test results came back because yesterday, thenumber was around the same.

So even though, with additional testing, the number of testresults are still pending and our hope is it will continueto go down significantly in the next coming days.

– [Man] Any questions from CTV? – [Man] Yeah, I'm just curious.

Thoughts on businesses opening today, or the slow opening of the economy.

You've got the buses, I saw a bus (chuckling) on the road today that was kinda cool.

Just your thoughts, and willyou guys be out monitoring just to ensure that people are following the regulations and whatnot? – So there are a number of ways that we ensure that theEmergency Management and Civil Protection Act are followed.

Some of them fall underthe public health domain.

A lot of the other fall into the police and the bylaw domain.

So, we will be working with our local law enforcementagencies and bylaw officers to ensure that all thebusinesses and individuals are complying with theEmergency Management and Civil Protection Act.

And we'll continue to do that, so that's one side of the thing.

The other side of the thingis, we are also interested in ensuring that how, even with the slow opening of the economy, how will it impact our communityfrom a spread perspective.

So, we wanna make surethat all these opening or all these measures thatare currently being taken, it doesn't have a negative impact on the, all the good work that wehave done over number of weeks and months to get us to thepoint of flatten the curve and we like to see those measures continue to ensure the safety andwell-being of our community.

So, we'll be keeping a close eye on all of those things to make sure that our community continuesto stay safe and protected.

– [Man] Are you holdingyour breath (laughing)? – Absolutely, and I thinkthis is a very crucial time.

And all the good workthat everyone has done, including all our community members, I think we have put a lot of effort, it's not easy to followall those guidelines, but we have made it through.

And I like to see us cross the finish line with more success rather than going back to where we started from.

– [Man] Any questions from AM 800? – [Woman] Yeah, I'm justwondering, Dr.

Ahmed, if you've heard from the Ministryof Health or the province about the state of emergency? It's supposed to expire next week.

So just wondering if you'vebeen given any updates in terms of, you know, whatthe status of that will be? – So, obviously those conversations happen at the provincial level.

We haven't heard anything for sure.

All I can say is our chiefmedical officer of health and others are involvedin those conversations.

And everyone is looking at those numbers and how we are comparing.

What's the new case count looks like and how it's increasing.

So I think there are anumber of conversation that are happening right now, and I don't know what theoutcome would look like, but I'm really hoping thateverything that happens, it results in the, it doesn't result us gettingmore cases in the community.

And we wanna make sure that the work, the good work that is already happening, it continues to happen withrespect to physical distancing and all the other measuresthat public health has put forward.

– [Woman] Okay.

Sorry, your website still seems to be down but when I checked earlier this morning, I noticed, I think it saidthat there were eight cases of COVID in people betweenthe ages of zero and 19.

You know, we're not hearing of a lot of young peoplegetting this virus.

So is this concerning to youor do you have any information on those cases in particular in terms of, you know, maybe pre existing conditions that led to contracting COVID? – So, I guess the good thingthat happened in March, when the school was shutdown to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in that population.

And as majority of us, even if we have to go out for essential work, forgroceries and other stuff, we're not taking our childrenswith us most of the time.

And even when we are, we are being very protectiveof all of them, so I guess, in terms of contracting thedisease in the first place, that is already gone pretty low.

Most of these cases, I would expect that that is happening inthe younger population is probably a contacttransmission from their family.

So, as long as, you know, we are taking good care ofour children, they are safe.

We know that parks and playgrounds are also closed foraccess for these children, so majority of even like, for example, my children.

They are just goingoutside biking and running and doing things independently without hanging out with their friends.

And that is significant from a risk of transmission perspective.

Yeah.

– [Woman] Okay.

– [Man] The website isnow back up and running.

Any questions from Windsorite? – [Man] Dr.

Ahmed, you said the majority of the 18 new cases todaywhere in longterm care, are you concerned that some of those cases are in the community of things reopening and people starting toget antsy being at home.

– Well I think it will be too early to say because many of the cases that we see, it takes an incubation period of 14 days and anything what we are seeing today, it's essentially could bea result of what happened a week ago, or at least two weeks ago.

So, it is something that weare keeping a close eye on with the restart of the economy.

We will have to, we'll have to be, again, very careful in monitoring all this change if that happens from today onward.

And as we also know thatthat weather is getting nice, more and more people arespending time outdoors and it is important thatwe all continue to follow the public health guidance, including physical distancing.

And it is important, doesn't matter what happens in the next few weeks or in a month time.

The disease has not goneaway, it is still exist in our community, andit is important for us to take the appropriate precautions, even when we are outdoor.

Even when we are going to the trail.

Even when we are going toour essential workplaces, grocery stores, pharmacies.

Anywhere we are going.

We would like to make surethat people are still following all those guidelines as best as they can and we like to see thatcontinued downward trajectory of the number of cases in our community.

– [Man] Any further questionsfrom the Windsor Star? – [Woman] Yes, I'm just wondering, do you find that people arerecovering in about 14 days? We have 202 resolved cases, so I'm just wondering how long are people havingto endure these symptoms for? – Well majority of them aretaking 14 days to recover, so that's why we can say with confidence that the 14 days is thetypical recovery time period.

And we are getting allthe information back as quickly from all the residents who are currently self-isolating.

And the moment we get more details, we update them and put themin the resolved criteria.

– [Woman] Thank you.

– [Man] Any further questions from CBC? – [Woman] Yes, do you have any information on the person who died over the weekend? – I mentioned that yesterdaywe lost three lives, a female in her 90's, a female in her 80's and a male in his 60's.

All residents of longterm care home or retirement home.

– [Woman] I believe it went from 50 to 51 though on Saturday.

– I don't have that informationright in front of me but I can say that mostof these individuals are from longterm carehome and retirement home.

– [Woman] Okay, thank you.

– [Man] Any furtherquestions from Blackburn? – [Woman] No thank you.

– [Man] CTV? – [Man] I'm good, thanks.

– [Man] AM 800? – [Woman] I'm good, thank you.

– [Man] Windsorite? – [Man] I'm good, thank you.

– [Man] Thank you everyone.

– Thank you.

.

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