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Windsor-Essex to remain in Stage 2 amid farm outbreaks: province

Last Updated Aug 4, 2020 at 9:25 am EDT

Migrant workers are seen working on a farm in Ontario. CITYNEWS

Windsor-Essex will remain in Stage 2, with the province citing ongoing challenges with outbreaks in the region’s agriculture industry.

It remains the last region in Ontario that hasn’t advanced to Stage 3 of reopening in the midst of an ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“We continue to take action to address outbreaks in the region and provide our farmers and agribusinesses in Windsor-Essex with the help, tools and resources necessary to ensure the safety and well-being of their workers and employees,” Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, Ernie Hardeman, said in a release Tuesday.

“We are all working together to fight the spread of COVID-19 while protecting our vital food supply chain and the health and safety of the people who put food on our tables.”

Minister of Health Christine Elliott said Windsor-Essex would remain in Stage 2 “until the data indicates they can safely move to Stage 3.”

“We are working hard with our federal and local partners to provide the communities in Windsor-Essex with the support they need during their reopening,” Elliott said.

The province said it recently deployed the Emergency Medical Assistance Team (EMAT) to Windsor-Essex to provide incident management support and health care coordination.

“Ontario is also implementing a three-point plan to support Windsor-Essex County Health Unit in reducing the risk of transmission on farms and throughout the community,” the province release states.

“This plan includes ongoing and expanded on-site testing, access to employment benefits and supports, and public health guidance specific to the agri-food setting. Local public health officials are assisting with the implementation of plans to ensure essential workers in the sector are able to return to work safely.”