TORONTO — Premier Doug Ford says Toronto and the Peel Region are set to enter Stage 2 of the province’s reopening plan on Wednesday.
That will leave Windsor-Essex as the only region of the province still in Stage 1.
Ford says the trends are improving in Toronto and Peel, but the threat of COVID-19 in Windsor-Essex is still too great.
He says the province is trying to help the region open as quickly as possible, including expanded and proactive testing on farms, where there have been large outbreaks among migrant workers.
The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit says that 31 of their 32 new cases today come from the agri-farm sector.
Two migrant workers have died in the region due to COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic and the Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit is now reporting that a migrant worker in their area has died amid a farm outbreak there.
The farm currently has 199 infected migrant workers and 18 other people associated with the farm who tested positive for COVID-19, the health unit said.
Approximately 20,000 migrant workers come to Ontario each year to work on farms and in greenhouses — many of them from Mexico, Guatemala and the Caribbean — and this year were required to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival.
Trudeau ‘extremely concerned’
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Monday the quarantine measures and protections for temporary foreign workers in the workplace were strong and “obviously” those rules were not followed in some cases.
“We’re extremely concerned by that and there will be consequences for companies that did not follow the rules,” he said.
“In Canada anyone doing work, let alone essential work as part of our food chain, needs to feel protected. Obviously, in the case of these three tragic deaths, that wasn’t the case. We are ensuring that changes are made and that there will be consequences.”
Hundreds of migrant workers have tested positive for COVID-19 in outbreaks at farms in Windsor-Essex, Haldimand-Norfolk, and Chatham-Kent.
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Today, provincewide there are 161 new cases of COVID-19 and three more deaths.
That’s the lowest total of new daily cases since late March and brings the province to a total of 33,637 cases, including 2,609 deaths and 28,933 resolved cases.
The number of resolved cases continues to grow more quickly than active ones.
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The number of people in hospital with COVID-19 and those in intensive care and on ventilators all dropped, to the lowest levels since the province started publicly reporting them at the beginning of April.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 22, 2020