There has been an increase of migrant workers testing positive for COVID-19 in Ontario, which is one of the main reasons Windsor-Essex cannot enter the next stage of reopening.
On Wednesday, Health Minister Christine Elliot acknowledged that migrant workers are one of the biggest issues for Windsor-Essex not entering Stage 2.
She also noted that health workers in the region often work in both Canada and the US, which is a unique situation for the region.
“These are the principle reasons we’re dealing with in order to plan a date for when they can move into Stage 2,” Elliot said.
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The Health Minister added that it would take 84 days if all the farmers and migrants workers in the area were to be tested with the mobile testing tests, and would only take 10 days if they went into assessment centres.
When asked about the over 300 workers who have now tested positive in the region and why testing hasn’t been mandated, Ford said, people cannot be forced to get tested.
“But I want the farmers to work with us, I absolutely love the farmers.”
The premier also appeared disappointed that the assessment centre at a hospital in Winsdor-Essex closed as no one was showing up to get tested.
“If you need transportation I’ll send in buses to pick you up and do whatever it takes. I am asking for cooperation from the farmers, which we love.”
Ford added that he understands why some migrant farmers might feel reluctant or scared to get tested, but assured that there is “no reason to be scared.”
“I can’t stress it enough, please get tested.”
On Monday, Ford announced that seven more regions can enter Stage 2 of economic reopening on June 19, making the total 31 regions.
The only regions left are Toronto, Peel, and Windsor-Essex.