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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

Windsor-Essex enters Stage 3 on Wednesday

- This is the last region in the province to advance -

Snapshot photo of livestream

by Adam Gault

Windsor-Essex will join the rest of Ontario in Stage 3 of the Province’s COVID-19 reopening plan on Wednesday, August 12, as the Provincial government gave the green light for the area to move ahead during the official announcement on Monday morning.

  “Thanks to the collective efforts of our frontline health care workers, public health experts, and the people of Windsor-Essex, more businesses in the region can hang up their ‘Open for Business’ sign and more people can go back to work as of this Wednesday,” Premier Doug Ford said in a press release. “As all of Ontario now enters into Stage 3, I ask everyone to remain on their guard and keep following the public health measures to protect the tremendous progress we’ve made and keep this deadly virus at bay.”

  As of August 13, Windsor-Essex is now inline with the rest of Ontario in the reopening process, which will allow for the resumption of such activities, like indoor dining, playgrounds, and movie theatres. Albeit, this will be met with protective measures, such as social distancing and extra cleaning protocols in place.

  Windsor-Essex had been initially held back from Stage 2 and 3 respectively, mainly due to outbreaks in temporary foreign worker populations at farms across the region, but significant strides in containing the spread on the farms and within the community at large led to the decision to move the region forward inline with the rest of the province.

  “We have more testing and the mobile [health] units going to the farms, we’re testing every day,” Ford said. “I just want to thank the farmers, I want to thank the workers, Mayors Santos, [Mayor] MacDonald, and especially the people of Essex. They’re incredible people.”

The advancement was also permitted after a decrease in hospitalizations, as well as an overall increase in hospital and ICU capacity.

“The move to Stage 3 is an affirmation of the great work that the community has done in following public health measures,” Dr. Wajid Ahmed said, who is the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit’s Medical Officer of Health, during a public health update on Monday. “The move to Stage 3 will definitely alleviate some of the economic, mental, and social wellbeing [issues] of our residents, but it is now even more important for all of us to follow the protocol measures.”

Gatherings of up to 50 people indoors and 100 outdoors are now permitted under Stage 3 guidelines, but physical distancing remains in effect for people who are not from the same social circle or household.

When it comes to weddings or funerals, 30 percent of a room’s fire capacity may be filled under Stage 3 protocols.

There were 11 new positive cases of COVID-19 this past weekend in Windsor-Essex, but sharp declines in the weekly average since the end of July also contributed towards moving the region forward.

Despite the positive news, health officials warn residents must be vigilant moving forward and that the virus will still be with us for some time.

“As we move from Stage 2 to Stage 3, it’s a reminder that the virus is not gone,” Ahmed said. “The virus still exists in our community. We have active cases in our community, and the only way that we can move forward, is to make sure that we are following all the measures.”


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