Blog,  Health

May 7, 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.

Overall, 9, 379 individualshave been tested for COVID-19.

Currently, we have 1, 193tests that are pending.

For those of you whoare waiting test results for COVID-19, please check the Ministry of Health's online portal, or the link on our website.

Please remember that whileyou await your results, you must remain in self isolation.

I will now share themost current case counts.

There are 63, 496 confirmedcases of COVID-19 in Canada, and 18, 722 cases in Ontario.

Chatham-Kent has 89cases, and Sarnia-Lambton has reported 193 cases.

Michigan now has 45, 054 cases, with 9, 536 cases being in Detroit.

Today, we are reporting674 cases of COVID-19 in our community, an increaseof nine cases from yesterday.

41% of our cases have occurredin long-term care homes, including both residents and staff.

229 cases have resolved.

18 people remain in hospital.

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

16% of the cases are between 50 and 59, and 21% of our casesare 80 years and older.

41% are male, and 58% are female, and 1% is unknown at this time.

Our community has lost atotal of 57 people to COVID.

43 deaths have occurred amongresidents in long-term care in retirement homes.

Our health unit is currently working with 11 long-term careand retirement homes that are currently experiencingCOVID-19 outbreaks.

Testing for COVID-19 is basedon a clinical assessment.

Common symptoms include feverand new or worsening cough, shortness of breath.

However, other symptoms may be present, such as a sore throat, unexplained fatigue, an increase in falls, nausea, vomiting, chills, headaches.

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

Complete the online Self Assessment Tool, available at ontario.

ca.

Contact Telehealth Ontario, or call your primary care provider for a phoneor virtual assessment.

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

ca.

Windsor-Essex has twoCOVID-19 assessment centers, Erie Shores Health Care 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 ofHealth, for further updates regarding COVID-19.

– Good morning everyone, and thank you for tuning in.

The provincial government continues to slowly release restrictions for businesses across the province.

Yesterday's announcement included the ability for retailstores with a street entrance to have curbside pickup available.

And other stores, such as garden center and hardware to allow in-store activities starting this weekend.

As many of these businesses and facilities have been closed with very limited number of people attending to these services, there may be some reasonsfor these facilities to ensure that the waterthat's been in the facilities has been sitting forsome time to make sure that you do appropriateflushing before you start to drink those water.

Some of those guidelines are available on our website throughour utilities partner and WIN Technology as well.

I continue to urgeeveryone when you are there in these stores, employees, patrons, to practice physical distancing.

Wash your hands regularly withsoap and water or sanitizers.

Stay home if you are sick and limit trips to only what is necessary.

The COVID-19 pandemic is not over, and we must all continue to do our part to maintain the safety of our community.

Today is Child andYouth Mental Health Day, and Mental Health Awareness Week.

Research has identified that 70% of mental health challenges have their onset duringchildhood or youth.

One in five children in youth in Ontario are dealing with amental health challenge.

COVID-19 is a difficulttime for children and youth.

During this time of uncertainty, children and youth are exposedto unfamiliar situations and rapidly changing conditionsthat can be difficult to cope with and understand.

For example, the loss of school friends, extracurricular activities and sports, and limitations on their mobility.

A recent study released on May 6th by Children's Mental Health Ontario and Addiction and MentalHealth Ontario identified that more than half of parentshave seen behavioral changes in their children sincethe start of COVID-19.

It ranged from extremeoutburst and irritability, drastic changes in mood, behavior or personality.

Sadness and difficulty in sleeping.

These type of changes in mode and behavior can be a sign of mental health.

Please also report, parents also reported that their children felt stressed to the point of impactingtheir daily lives.

Parents, guardians, teachers, and other adults in lives of children and youth play an important role in helping them cope up with these challenges.

To help support children's mental health and wellbeing during this pandemic, you can take several action.

For example, talk to your children and youth about COVID-19.

Keep a regular routine.

Limit exposure to newsand overly negative media.

Encourage socialconnection and engagement.

Make sure they get timefor physical activity and support healthy eating.

Seek help for any mental health concerns by reaching out to local professionals or your healthcare providers.

For children and youth, this time of social distancing and rapidchange can be challenging.

So much of the childhood experience is about building social connections, relationships, and learning.

We know that children and youth have at least one trustedadult that they can talk to, and has a positive impact on their mental health outcomes.

It is critical today and everyday to listen to your youth, support and guide them through this.

Thank you.

– [Host] And I'll takequestions from the media.

We'll start with CTV.

– [Man] My first thought is, you have to be worried about this weekend with the opening of (mumbles).

As a Chief MedicalOfficer, I would be afraid.

– Definitely, and it iswhy it is a good reminder for people to know that easing off these restrictions doesn't mean that everything is gone.

We still need to be very responsible, and our community has been responsible for quite some time now, andI think people have learned many lessons during this time.

When you're going out to these facilities, making sure that you are ensuring that physical distancingpiece is maintained.

Staying home when you're sick.

It's not a free-for-all show that everyone will start to go into these facilities.

There are some restrictionsin how many people can be in these facilities.

So being mindful of that, and this is to maintain, make sure that people are doing their physical distancing piece.

When you're out in the store, it's better, you don't wander around, you gather your stuff, you pick up, you leave, because that's what it means that you do thework that is necessary, it's not something else.

And ensuring that when you are interacting with other people, other, even the staff in those facilities.

Ensuring that you are doingit from a safe distance, and still following all those guidelines that we've been talking about.

Hand washing, respiratory etiquette.

And if there are concernsabout not meeting the physical distancing piece, considering maybe wearing a cloth-based mask as in manyplaces that we have said, that if it is difficult tomaintain physical distancing.

So things like that, it is important that people shouldremember, and these are all about those facilities.

And every time when we are out and about in the community, we want people to follow them.

– [Host] Any questions from AM 800? – [Woman] The outbreak inthe 11th long-term care home, I understand that's aresident, not a staff member? – That is, yes.

– [Woman] Is that a little unusual? Usually, first detectedin the staff member and would spread to a resident.

– It is unusual, and we are getting all that data and trying to figure out what could have led to that case.

And, so that work is being done.

Sometimes it's very difficultto get that answered because we are unable topinpoint exactly what happened, but that's definitely an important one, and we've been talkingabout it when we became aware of the case.

– [Woman] Thank you.

– [Host] Any questions from Windsor? – [Man] Yeah, just going backto that long-term care home in Chartwell, Kingsville.

Could they, did that resident, I'm sorry, I'll come back to that.

– [Host] Any questionsfrom the Windsor Star? – [Woman] It looks like apretty significant number of tests came back yesterday, was there any increase in the number, I'm justtryin' to do the math in my head quickly here.

– The test results that came back, yes.

As I said, the capacity at these labs are constantly increasing andthey are developing better mechanism to transport these specimen to the labs that are able to test them, so all these effortsare happening right now.

I am aware that we did numberof testing yesterday too, and a lot of them, thepending results came back too, and Theresa gave all that number, and it is definitely encouraging, but as I said, there's still a lot of work that needs to happen to make sure that we are, to get us to the point where we feel comfortable thateverything is working well.

I think there's still somework that needs to be done.

– [Woman] So tentatively we're feeling a little bit better seeingsome improvements even that you were mentioning yesterday and the day before.

But, more work needs to be done.

– Absolutely, yes.

– [Woman] Okay, thank you.

– [Host] Any more questions from CBC? – [Woman] Yes, good morning.

Chartwell Kingsville on the health website is calling it a long-term care facility, but I believe it's a retirement home.

– We can look into it and make sure that we can correct it if that's the case.

– [Woman] 'Cause that'swhat it was yesterday.

It said retirement home.

– Okay, well that correction as necessary.

– [Woman] Do they have the same rules that the long-term carefacility has right now? – Same rules with respectto, they have different.

No visitors, yes.

So they are following theno visitors policy as well, and also with their staffing, they have to follow the guidance of signage and restricting number of visitors, ensuring that they have their staff are wearing the mask asuniversally recommended.

– [Woman] Are staff allowedto leave the facility? Or sorry, are residents, if it's a retirement home? – To my knowledge, I thinkthey are all expected to be at the facility instead of leaving, but as something that we can't control, I am expecting that that's being followed.

– [Woman] Okay, thank you.

– [Host] Any questions from Blackburn? – [Woman] Yeah, do you have an idea or do you know how manyhomes long-term care or retirement homes havecompleted their initial testing and how many more are you expecting to do? What percentage of long-term care homes have been tested in the region? – So specifically, basedon the premier's direction, we have completed more than at least 75% of the long-term carehomes already been tested, all the residents in that facility.

And we are, we, even though the timeline to complete those tests was May 15, but we are expecting that either we finish it this weekend or earlynext week to complete all the swabbings in allthe long-term care home and retirement home.

Some of that swabbing is doneby the EMS in collaboration with the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit, and also our hospital partner, and some of the homes aredoing their own swabbing.

A combination of all of that, we are expecting either this weekend or very early nextweekend to complete well in advance of the timelinethat was given to us.

– [Woman] And I think you'veexplained this before, but once you've completedall of those baseline tests, how do you use thisinformation moving forward? – So I think that's a baseline information as you already pointed out.

It gives us a point intime of what is happening in these facilities.

The hope is with manyof these restrictions and limitations on how these facilities are operating, the hope is weare in a much better position to contain that high risk population from not getting in, not getting any disease in this population come to them, basically in the first place.

And then we can go backto possibly the model where we will continue todo the active surveillance that all these long-term care homes and retirement homes do, to including daily temperature check twice a day and looking for active sign and symptoms of COVID, whether we are talking about typical symptomsor atypical symptoms.

And then acting appropriately on-time to get those additional testing done.

So some of those decisionswill be made locally and some of these directions may come from the province too, I'm not sure that we have gone that far yet, but from a local perspective, we definitely want to continue to work with these facilities, these are not one-off testing.

We have been doing thisfor many, many years now, that even with theinfluenza and everything.

Our staff and our team is in contact always with these facilities.

And to make sure that they'regetting the right support, including infectionprevention and control, all the guidance from the outbreak.

We do provide regular trainingon outbreak management.

And following everything that they need to do from an activesurveillance perspective, and seeking out publichealth support as needed.

So we'll continue to do our work even when we finish all thisswabbing in these facilities.

– [Woman] So was theresident that became positive at Chartwell Kingsville, was that due to some of your surveillance swabbing, or was that due to symptomsthat they were tested? – My understanding is it was part of the surveillance swabbing.

– [Host] Any further questions from CTV? – [Man] The kind ofswabbing, I'm just curious.

I was at Biola campus theother day, or yesterday, and I noticed that the lines, the lines aren't as big.

Do you have numbers? Are people still going to assessment centers, here in Erie Shores? – Those numbers are typically tracked by the hospitals themself, all these assessment centers, but as I mentioned Ithink yesterday, it's, we anticipate that there'sbetween 80 to 100 people who are going to these assessment center and the testing is happening there.

And there is no indicationor recommendation from us not to go there.

If you feel that you have signs and symptoms and concerned about COVID, go to the Assessment Center.

And there are healthcare providers who will assess youbased on your symptoms, based on your presentation.

And then may choose to swab you if they feel that there's a suspicion, clinical suspicion COVID, andthey will do what is needed.

So, assessment centersare there for people.

And you also have other options.

You can go do the online screener.

You can visit, you can reach out to virtual health, E-Health Windsor-Essex and then maybe get an assessment there and get some recommendation from there.

So there are multiple options for people to access those servicesthat exist in the community.

– [Host] Any furtherquestions from AM 800? – [Woman] So just wantedto follow up on (mumbles), said 75% have already been tested when it comes to the long-term care homes and retirement homes.

Is that residents andstaff have been tested? – So, 75% is that is mainly the residents in these facilities.

And if we made that comparison, I think we were talking about between 50 and 60% of the residents in each of these facilities.

That, sorry, the staff ineach of these facilities.

The challenge with thestaff is when the team is there, not everyone, because some of these facilities work intwo or three different shifts, not all the staff areonsite or at the testing, and then the recommendationsfor those staff to go to either an assessment center or the facilities to do theswabbing for themselves.

So we can, we can, ourprocess is very good with respect to the residents.

For the staff, I think that's something, it's a shared responsibility as we feel, and we are trying to provide as best support to these facilities to get everyone done.

– [Woman] Okay, thank you.

– [Host] Any furtherquestions from Windsor? – [Man] I don't see anything.

– [Host] Windsor Star? – [Woman] No, thank you.

– [Host] BBC? – [Woman] Yes, one question.

The person that testedpositive in Kingsville, you were saying the test to get them back takes between six and seven days, so that means Chartwell would've been in outbreak for thelast six or seven days.

You're counting the two weeks.

I just wanna make sureyou're counting two weeks from the day you get the test results back even if it's taking morethan three or four days? – As I said, I don't have the specific that how long it took usto get the results back.

Most of these facilities arelong-term care home people.

They are prioritized by the lab to get their results quickly.

And, I don't have thatnumber, that how long it took.

But technically, anyone who is showing symptoms, and as Isaid, there are a number of measures that are already in place.

Having a case, especiallyif it's asymptomatic, doesn't necessarily mean thatthe transmission is happening.

If people are using the appropriate PPE, following the right infection prevention and control measures, soit doesn't necessarily mean that the spread happens unless there is an evidence to show that.

The homes and thefacilities, they are aware of all these infectionprevention and control measures to protect their staff, toprotect their residents, even when the facilityis not in an outbreak.

So I think it, yes, the facility is now, is declared an outbreak at this time, but itdoesn't necessarily mean that they were not followingeverything that they should in between the time that theywere waiting for the results.

– [Woman] Those are theonly wait for the results and then you will put that as date of the outbreak as opposed to the date the person was tested? – I'll have to double-check, I think it goes back to the either symptom onset or the date of specimen collection.

Yeah, I think it, especiallyif it's an asymptomatic case, then we go to the specimen collection date rather than the date of symptom onset.

But if we have the symptomonset, we use that date.

– [Woman] Okay, thank you.

– [Host] Are therequestions from Blackburn? – [Woman] No thank you.

– [Host] Thank you everyone.

– [Woman] Thank you.

.

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