The Ontario government has sent two dozen contact tracers to Windsor, Ont., as public health officials there grapple with numerous COVID-19 outbreaks and warn the region is on the verge of entering lockdown.
Dr. Wajid Ahmed, the medical officer of health for Windsor-Essex, says the region is sending daily updates to the province on the state of 17 active outbreaks.
The region entered the red level of the province’s tiered, colour-coded pandemic response framework on Monday.
Two weeks earlier, it had entered the yellow level, before advancing to orange.
Ahmed says the impact on schools is of particular concern, with two elementary schools currently closed due to outbreaks.
At one school, 29 students and nine staff tested positive for the virus.
Ahmed says school outbreaks are a symptom of community spread, so if the region can’t control the virus, more schools could be forced to close.
He says the region’s proximity to the U.S.-Canada border is also an issue.
The Windsor-Essex Public Health unit recorded 41 new cases of COVID-19 today, along with two new deaths.
The province as a whole, meanwhile, is reporting 1,723 new cases of COVID-19 today, and 35 new deaths due to the virus.
Health Minister Christine Elliott says there are 500 new cases in Peel Region, 410 cases in Toronto, and 196 cases in York Region.
In the province’s long-term care homes, 664 residents currently have COVID-19 and 22 new deaths have been reported today.
The province says 111 of its 626 long-term care homes are experiencing an outbreak.
It also reported 166 new COVID-19 cases related to schools, including at least 140 among students.
Those bring the number of schools with a reported case to 742 out of Ontario’s 4,828 publicly funded schools.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 2, 2020.
The Canadian Press