Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19
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Key strategies to prevent and control respiratory viruses, including COVID-19, in childcare settings:
- Children or staff who are ill with fever and/or infectious respiratory symptoms should stay home from child care/work.
- Consistently practise good respiratory etiquette (e.g., sneezing/coughing into a tissue or elbow) and hand hygiene (e.g., frequent handwashing with soap and water).
- Ensure regular and routine environmental cleaning of the home/facility.
- Reinforce “no food sharing” policies.
If an individual (child, visitor, etc.) shows symptoms of COVID-19, provide them with a surgical/procedure mask. If they cannot wear a mask ensure that the individual providing direct care to the person with symptoms properly wears personal protective equipment including a mask and eye protection at a minimum. Separate them immediately from others in a supervised area until they can go home or be picked up. If possible, stay two metres from the individual. When the individual has left, clean and disinfect the area where they were separated.
Yes. Unlicensed child care settings are required to actively screen all children, staff, and visitors.
View the COVID-19 Health and Safety Measures for Child Care webpage.
In addition, the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit will work closely with operators to provide advice and recommendations to ensure the safety of staff, children and their families.
Each centre may have different procedures depending on their available space. The Ministry of Education encourages each centre to share information of their new health and safety procedures with families.
Parents should contact their child's daycare for more information on specific measures to follow once they reopen.
COVID-19 Vaccination for Workplaces
Yes, employees can return to work if they screen positive for the following symptoms within 48 hours after receiving their vaccine, if these symptoms are mild, only began after vaccination, and the employee feels well enough to work:
- Headache, fatigue, muscle ache, joint pain
If employees have any of the following symptoms, they should NOT report to work, self-isolate and get tested as soon as possible:
- Fever and/or chills
- Any respiratory symptoms (cough, shortness of breath, runny or congested nose, sore throat, difficulty swallowing, loss of taste or smell)
- Digestive issues like nausea/vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain
- Extreme tiredness
- Falling down often
Employers may be able to require proof of vaccination to ensure fitness to safely perform work or protect others, but must be clear why proof of vaccination is needed and ensure informed consent is received in order to receive this information. Employees who choose not be vaccinated may be reassigned/ accommodated to other areas of work if deemed necessary to do so. For more information, visit this website on COVID-19 and the Human Rights Code.
- Even after employees have been vaccinated or have recently recovered from a COVID-19 infection, employers are required to continue to screen employees daily for COVID-19 symptoms. If they have symptoms, they should get tested and isolate while awaiting results. Vaccination can prevent severe illness from COVID-19, but people can still spread the virus to others (especially those that have not yet been vaccinated).
- Individuals who are fully vaccinated or have been previously positive within the last 90 days who have had a high-risk exposure to a confirmed case of COVID-19 should report their exposure to their employer and follow any restrictions from work, as specified by their manager and/or Occupational Health department. They should also take the following precautions for 10 days after the exposure:
- self-monitor for symptoms and self-isolate immediately if symptoms develop.
- wear a mask and maintain physical distancing when outside of the home to reduce the risk of transmission to others in the event they become a case;
- See our webpage for more information.
- Workplaces may implement policies and procedures for fully vaccinated or unvaccinated employees that are more restrictive than the aforementioned policies.
- Please note that the WECHU case and contact management may provide different guidance to any individual based on their exposure history, context of interactions, and symptom onset.
E-mail email@example.com to request a mobile vaccination clinic for a mobile team to administer first and second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine on-site. WECHU will assist in the planning and promotion of the clinic, and help answer employee questions about the COVID-19 vaccines.
There are several different ways to access vaccine appointments in Windsor-Essex County:
- Make an appointment online using WECHU’s online booking system or by calling 226-773-2200 (available from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday-Friday and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday).
- Drop in at an eligible mass vaccination clinic or at a pop-up clinic; no appointment needed (while supplies last).
- Find a participating pharmacy near you.
- Contact a participating primary care provider.
For any individuals that may experience difficulty attending their COVID-19 vaccination appointment due to a lack of transportation, childcare services, or other accessibility concerns, there are a variety of local supports available. Visit our website to learn more.
Yes. If you do not have an OHIP (Ontario Health Insurance Plan) card, you can still get a vaccine by presenting another form of a government issued-photo ID such as a driver’s license, passport, Status Card or other provincial health cards. You do not have to be a Canadian citizen to receive a vaccine if you are a current resident of Windsor-Essex and in an eligible group.
Guidance for special populations, including individuals with autoimmune conditions and immunocompromised persons, and individuals with allergies is available in the Vaccination Recommendations for Special Populations guidance document.
Please note: The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit (WECHU) does not provide individual patient counselling on the suitability of receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. Individuals should speak to their health care provider about any serious allergies or other health concerns they may have before receiving the vaccine.
Individuals who have been vaccinated will receive a paper receipt of vaccination and if they consent to receive information electronically, they can receive a digital receipt via email.
To download your vaccination receipts, visit https://covid19.ontariohealth.ca/.
Those who need support obtaining a copy of their vaccination receipt including those who do not have access to a computer or printer can call the Provincial Vaccine Contact Centre at 1-833-943-3900.
Updating personal information in the vaccine database:
The contact information you provided at your first dose appointment will be used to communicate with you about your second dose appointment if required. If you have since changed your contact information, please contact the agency who administered your first dose to request that your information be updated. This request may be completed on a case by case basis for essential changes only.
Individuals who are homebound or with mobility issues can request accessible transportation support by calling 2-1-1. This free helpline is available 24 hours a day and can offer referrals to local services available to help with transportation to a vaccination site. Learn more about available transportation/childcare/accessibility supports.
Yes. If you have already had COVID-19, have fully recovered from it, and are of authorized age to receive the vaccine, there are no limitations on receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.
It is very important that those who have tested positive for COVID-19 not leave isolation to try to obtain a vaccine. Individuals must complete their isolation period, be symptom free, and meet current eligibility criteria before getting a COVID-19 vaccine.
If you develop symptoms of COVID-19, isolate yourself from others and complete the online self-assessment to determine your next steps.
If you test positive for COVID-19, you are required to continue self-isolating and follow guidance outlined on our website. The WECHU case management team will record this when you are followed up with as a positive case. Please inform your case manager of your vaccination history when you are contacted.
COVID-19 vaccines should not be received at the same time as other vaccines. You can receive other vaccines after at least 28 days after you receive the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. You should wait 14 days after receiving another vaccine before receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.
For the current distribution phase, daily doses administered, total doses administered, and total vaccinations completed, visit the Government of Ontario’s COVID-19 vaccines for Ontario webpage.
COVID-19 Vaccine Myths and Facts
Fact: No. None of the authorized and recommended COVID-19 vaccines cause you to test positive on viral tests, which are used to see if you have a current infection. If your body develops an immune response to vaccination, which is the goal, you may test positive on some antibody tests. Antibody tests indicate you had a previous infection and that you may have some level of protection against the virus. Experts are currently looking at how COVID-19 vaccination may affect antibody testing results.
Fact: No. Your menstrual cycle cannot be affected by being near someone who received a COVID-19 vaccine. Many things can affect menstrual cycles, including stress, changes in your schedule, problems with sleep, and changes in diet or exercise. Infections may also affect menstrual cycles.
Fact: None of the approved COVID-19 vaccines have porcine gelatin (a substance derived from pork products commonly used to stabilize vaccines) listed as a non-medical ingredient.
Fact: Both mRNA and viral vector COVID-19 vaccines do not change or interact with your DNA in any way. Both types of COVID-19 vaccines deliver instructions to our cells to start building protection against the virus that causes COVID-19. However, these instructions never enter the nucleus of the cell, which is where our DNA is kept. This means the instructions in the vaccines cannot affect or interact with our DNA in any way. All COVID-19 vaccines work with the body's natural defense to safely develop immunity to the disease.
Fact: No this does not happen. Vaccine shedding is the term used to describe the release or discharge of any of the vaccine components in or outside of the body. Vaccine shedding can only occur when a vaccine contains a weakened version of the virus. None of the vaccines authorized for use contain a live virus. The mRNA and viral vector vaccines are the two types of currently authorized COVID-19 vaccines available.
Fact: You cannot get the COVID-19 virus from the COVID-19 vaccines. The vaccines do not use the live virus that causes COVID-19 and do not cause the disease they are designed to prevent.
Fact: People who have recovered from COVID-19 may contract the virus again and would still benefit from the protection of the vaccine. It is important to follow public health guidelines after you have recovered from COVID-19 to protect yourself from contracting the virus again.
Homeless Shelters & Group Homes/Co-Living Settings
Unless you are a healthcare facility, personal protective equipment should be ordered through your regular supplier. A list of PPE suppliers is available on the Ontario’s Workplace PPE Supplier Directory webpage.
- Routine cleaning followed by disinfection is a best practice to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Facilities should follow their protocols for regular cleaning and disinfection.
- Commonly used cleaners and disinfectants are effective against COVID-19. Check the expiry date before using cleaners and disinfectants, and always follow the manufacturer’s directions for use to ensure their effectiveness.
- In addition to routine cleaning, high-touch surfaces should be cleaned and disinfected at least twice per day, and when visibly dirty. Examples of high-touch surfaces include doorknobs, handrails, light switches, toilet handles, and faucet handles.
- Recommend posting a cleaning and disinfecting schedule
- Remove shared items that are difficult to clean.
For more information about cleaning and disinfecting for co-living settings:
If the facility is NOT in outbreak:
- Staff and visitors should wear a non-medical mask (e.g. cloth mask) at all times except when eating or alone in a private space.
- Residents should wear a non-medical mask (e.g. cloth mask) as all times if healthy and have no symptoms of COVID-19.
- If resident has symptoms or has been directed to isolate, a medical mask should be worn.
If the facility is IN Outbreak:
- Staff and visitors should wear a medical mask as all times except when eating or alone in a private space.
- Eye protection and gowns should be worn when interacting with residents. Gloves should be worn when providing direct care to a resident (e.g. bathing, feeding).
- Residents should wear a medical mask at all times.
For a helpful guidance document from Public Health Ontario that outlines PPE requirements in congregate living settings, please review “COVID-19: Personal Protective Equipment and Non-Medical Masks in Congregate Settings”
Hospitality Sector (Food Premises, Bars)
- Patio coverings, canopies, tents, should be as high as possible – recommended at least 3 metres in height. Umbrellas are allowed for sunshade.
- All patios and outdoor dining and beverage areas must be open to the air on at least 3 sides to allow for adequate air circulation.
- Blocking of open sides with plants, walls, etc. is not permitted.
Vendors and volunteers are required to wear a mask at outdoor Farmer’s Markets. If the Farmer’s Market is indoors, vendors, volunteers, and customers are required to wear a mask.
The number of tables allowed depends on the size of the approved outdoor patio or dining area. Consult your municipality for bylaws and other requirements for setting up an outdoor patio or dining area.
Please visit ‘Restaurant, Bars, and Food or Drink Establishments’ guidance page for current restrictions and health measures for indoor/outdoor dining.
While dining or drinking on an outdoor patio, or in an open-air setting of a food premises, non-medical masks or face coverings should be worn when not seated at a table and coming within 2 metres of another person.
When using any indoor space of the premises, the wearing of a mask IS required. This includes:
- Indoor take-out counters
- Indoor dining area except when seated at a table
- Food preparation areas that are open to the public.
For Owners/Operators and Staff of Food Premises
Non-medical masks or face coverings are required in areas accessible to the public, and in areas inaccessible to the public when staff cannot maintain a physical distance of 2 metres from each other.
In addition to wearing a non-medical mask or face covering, staff must wear eye protection when they are within 2 metres of patrons who are not wearing a non-medical mask or face covering. Review our fact sheet on approved eye protection for staff.
Letter of Instruction
No. Only the businesses and organizations outlined in the Reopening Ontario Act are required to actively screen patrons. (e.g. restaurants, bars, meeting and event spaces, etc.).
Yes. Hosts are required to create a guest list for public health to use for contact tracing purposes and share it with the Health Unit within 24 hours if requested. The guest list can be deleted after 30 days.
For outdoor events at these locations, the venue is required to follow the Reopening Ontario Act in regards to mask use. Mask use is not required by attendees when outside, but masks are required when accessing any indoor areas such as a washroom. Attendees of outdoor events or dance facilities of nightclubs are required to maintain physical distance with others, and are strongly recommended to wear a mask when within 2 metres of others who are outside of their household.
If you are setting up a special event that is open to the public, please contact the WECHU at 519-258-2146 ext. 4475 and contact your local municipality for guidance. View Special Events and Food Vendor Requirements.
No, only those employees who come within 2 metres of another person who is NOT wearing a mask and there is not a physical barrier between them (e.g. waiters and waitresses) must wear eye protection (e.g., face shield, goggles etc). This applies to both indoor and outdoor settings.
Patrons who are dining indoors at food courts or fast food restaurants must provide proof of identification and proof of being fully vaccinated at the point of entry or at the purchase point.
All current requirements for such events in Ontario can be found in Ontario’s current Restrictions for events and gatherings and Restrictions for weddings, funerals, and other religious services. You can also see a summary of restrictions and other guidance for safely hosting events on our website.
Current requirements and restrictions for restaurants, bars, and nightclubs can be found on our website at Sector Specific Guidance.
Information for businesses and organizations to support them in implementing the proof of vaccination requirements where applicable can be found here Proof of Vaccination Guidance for Businesses and Organizations under the Reopening Ontario Act.
The letter of instruction is issued by the Medical Officer of Health under the Reopening Ontario Act, Ontario Regulation 364/20. These instructions are enforceable under the ROA. Failure to comply could result in a fine or order to the individual or business.
Each venue or business will have their own practices for maintaining contact lists. Patrons can request that their information is collected and kept securely, and the venue can accommodate as they see fit. If a patron refuses to leave their contact information, the venue must not permit entry, as they are responsible for providing lists to public health for contact tracing, upon request.
Per the Letter of Instruction, all employees are required to wear both a mask and eye protection at all times when working both indoors and outdoors when physical distancing cannot be maintained or when a barrier is not in place.
Contact lists may be requested by public health on the basis of contact tracing due to known positive cases. When a list is requested, the restaurant/bar/nightclub/event venue/event host has 24 hours to provide the list to the public health staff. This allows public health to complete contact tracing in a timely manner to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
The additional instructions described in the Letter of Instruction are effective October 4, 2021 until further notice.
Patrons of food or drink establishments (excluding outdoor patios, takeout, and delivery) must provide proof of identification and proof of being fully vaccinated at the point of entry.
Information on current restrictions and public health measures in place under the Reopening Ontario Act can be found on our General Information for Workplaces webpage. There, you can access Sector Specific Guidance. Please note that the more restrictive regulations should be followed when comparing the Letter of Instructions and Reopening Ontario Act.
The owner/operator of the venue is responsible for making sure that an event in their facility is in compliance with all requirements. The venue needs to inform the host/renter if they are responsible for verifying vaccination status and collecting contact information, OR if the venue will provide a staff member to complete the verification and data collection. The venue needs to securely store the contact information of all attendees for 30 days after the event, in case they are asked to provide it to public health.
Letter of Instruction - Sports and Recreational Facilities
Yes. Organized warm-ups that are overseen by a team coach or coordinator are allowed, following public health guidelines (e.g., wearing masks during lower intensity warm-ups, maintaining physical distance). Participants and other individuals are encouraged to minimize time spent in the facility outside of activities directly related to the event. As such, activities such as team warm-ups are advised to be held outdoors as much as possible, and should be timed closely to the indoor event itself.
A valid medical exemption, as outlined by the province of Ontario in the Reopening Ontario Act, will be the only exemption allowed at recreational facilities. For further information about medical exemptions, please contact your primary healthcare provider.
No. Individuals must provide proof of full vaccination status, or a valid medical exemption as outlined by the province, to gain entry to a recreation facility.
Any individual aged 12 or older must show proof of vaccination to gain entry to indoor spaces for the purpose of (a) actively participating in organized sports, (b) coaching, officiating at organized sports or volunteering, or (c) spectating at organized sports, including change rooms.
Yes. The guidance applies to all facilities offering sport, recreation, and fitness-related activities in Windsor-Essex County.
No. The Letter of Instruction does not apply to school sports however specialized sport programs which are run through schools and utilize recreational facilities are exempt from the Letter of Instruction (e.g., school-based hockey programs that take place at a recreation facility). If schools have questions about whether or not a specific program would qualify, contact the health unit.
The requirement to show proof of vaccination status is only for those who are 12 years of age and older on the date of entry.
Individuals are required to show proof of full vaccination status upon entry to the facility. A paper or electronic copy of their vaccine receipt, along with matching identification, is required.
The definition of what constitutes “fully vaccinated” can be found online here.
The additional guidance for recreational facilities are effective on October 1, 2021.
The Letter of Instruction for recreational facilities in Windsor-Essex applies to any individual who is 12 years of age and older who is attending the indoor area of a facility for the purpose of (a) actively participating in organized sports, (b) coaching, officiating at organized sports or volunteering, or (c) spectating at organized sports.
Long-Term Care Homes and Retirement Homes
The following applies when a Long-Term Care home is NOT in Outbreak
There are no specific limitations on the number of visitors who can visit a resident indoors or outdoors at a long-term care home. Homes’ policies should ensure there is the ability for adequate physical distancing between groups and persons (as required) and that public health measures are being followed.
Residents have a right under the Long-Term Care Homes Act, 2007, to receive visitors and homes should not develop policies that unreasonably restrict this right. It is expected that, at a minimum, residents could receive two general visitors and two caregivers at a time (unless the resident is isolating or in an area of a home with an outbreak).
The indoor and outdoor “gathering limits” set out under regulations governing the province’s Roadmap to Reopen made under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19covid 19) Act, 2020 do not apply with respect to visitors coming to a long-term care home.
Per Directive #3, homes must maintain visitor logs of all visits to the home. The visitor log must include, at minimum:
- the name and contact information of the visitor
- time and date of the visit
- the purpose of the visit (for example, name of resident visited)
These visitor logs or records must be kept for a period of at least 30 days and be readily available to the local public health unit for contact tracing purposes upon request.
If a Long-Term Care home is in Outbreak
Essential visitors are the only type of visitors allowed when there is an outbreak or when a resident is in isolation. Essential visitors must wear a medical mask for the entire duration of their shift or visit, both indoors and outdoors, regardless of their immunization status, per Directive #3 unless exceptions in the directive or this document apply.
General visitors are not permitted:
- when a home or area of a home is in outbreak
- to visit an isolating resident
- when the local public health unit so directs
Please read the “Visitors” section on the COVID-19 Guidance Document for Long-Term Caren Homes in Ontario for more details on the definitions of essential visitors and general visitors.
As of July 15, 2021, fully-immunized and asymptomatic staff, caregivers and visitors are NOT required to be surveillance tested before entering long-term care homes (Reference: Ontario Updates Testing Requirements at Long-Term Care Homes – News Release)
Please review Ontario’s “COVID-19: Long-Term care home surveillance testing and access to homes” webpage for specific guidance related to surveillance testing in Long-Term Care Homes for those who are not exempt from testing.
At least once daily, residents must be assessed for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 including temperature checks as a way to quickly identify illness. If a resident has fever, cough or other symptoms of COVID-19 or mild respiratory and/or atypical symptoms they must be isolated and get tested as per the COVID-19: Provincial Testing Requirements Update.
Long-term care and retirement homes must implement active screening, including a temperature check of all staff, visitors, and anyone else entering the home (residents returning from a visit) for COVID-19 except emergency first responders, who should, in emergencies, be permitted entry without screening. Active screening is required regardless of vaccination status.
The COVID-19 Screening Tool for Long-Term Care Homes and Retirement Homes checks exposure and proper recent PPE usage. Active screening is required once per day at the beginning of a shift or visit and includes a temperature check after the questionnaire is passed.
Anyone not living at the home that is that does not pass the screen or is showing symptoms of COVID-19 must not be allowed to enter or leave the home and must be advised to go home immediately to self-isolate and be encouraged to get tested.
According to this updated Ministry of Health COVID-19 Provincial Testing Guidance Update Document: In the event a resident living in a long-term care or retirement home develops symptoms of COVID-19, asymptomatic residents, regardless of immunization status, living in the same room should be tested immediately along with the symptomatic resident under the direction of local public health.
For asymptomatic residents who have been identified as a close contact of a known case, regardless of their vaccination status, a negative result should not change public health management as the individual may still be in their incubation period. Re-testing of asymptomatic individuals who initially test negative is recommended if they develop symptoms.
If a staff or visitor develops COVID-19 symptoms they are advised to go home immediately, to self-isolate and encouraged to be tested for COVID-19 using a lab-based PCR test.
The Health Unit may also, based on a risk assessment, determine if any additional testing is required and its frequency. There maybe re-testing of asymptomatic individuals who initially tested negative if they develop symptoms.
As part of the updated Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 guidance document for long-term care homes, any single confirmed case of COVID-19 who is a resident of a long-term care home or retirement home is considered a suspect outbreak for COVID-19.
A confirmed outbreak in a home is defined as two or more lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases in residents and/or staff (or other visitors) with an epidemiological link, within a 14-day period.
A confirmed outbreak in a home is removed from the WECHU outbreak list after 14 days with no new positive cases. For more information on COVID-19 or other respiratory or enteric outbreaks in a Long-Term Care Home or a Retirement Home please visit our Outbreaks Page.
An essential visitor prior to visiting a resident where the home is in an outbreak should have training on how to safely provide direct care, including putting on and taking off required PPE, and hand hygiene. If the home does not provide training it must direct caregivers and support workers to the appropriate resources from Public Health Ontario.
For homes not in outbreak every month the essential visitors, general visitors, and personal care service providers must verbally attest to have:
Read/Re-reading the following documents:
- The home’s visitor policy; and
- Public Health Ontario’s document entitled Recommended Steps: Putting on Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
Watched/Re-watched the following Public Health Ontario videos:
Surveillance testing is the proactive COVID-19 testing of individuals. Surveillance testing helps WECHU better understand the current state of COVID-19 infections in our region. The test results provide a snapshot of current infections and are used to track where the virus has spread. WECHU follows up immediately with homes and individuals (staff) if there is a positive test result.
COVID-19 spreads mainly from person-to-person through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks. Droplets can travel up to 2 metres (6 feet) so wearing a face covering that covers your mouth, nose, and chin will help prevent respiratory droplets from reaching others or landing on surfaces.
Wearing a face covering in public spaces protects others from your respiratory droplets. This is especially important in situations where physical distancing is often difficult or inconsistent such as commercial establishments.
The use of face coverings must be used in combination with good hand hygiene, not touching your face, and physical distancing whenever possible.
No. Eye protection, including goggles, safety glasses or face shields should be worn in conjunction with a face mask/covering and are not a replacement or acceptable substitute for a face mask/covering.
For more information about personal protective equipment including authorized products, medical gowns and face shields visit the Government of Canada’s website.
It is not necessary for a person to present evidence to a business if they are entitled to any of the exemptions. Please be advised that businesses may have enacted policies which extend beyond the Provincial Order and refuse entry to any person not wearing a face covering.
Wearing a mask can increase your risk of infection if you touch your face more frequently while readjusting it or if you do not wash your hands before putting it on and taking it off. All parts of non-medical masks (i.e. cloth masks) can become contaminated by breathing or when touched by your hands. It is recommended to wash reusable face coverings as often as possible, when they become soiled/wet, or at the end of each day.
Visit the Government of Ontario’s Face Coverings and Face Masks webpage for instructions on how to properly use, remove or dispose, and clean face coverings.
Using a face mask during periods of extreme heat may make breathing difficult, cause adverse skin reactions, and create discomfort due to extreme heat. When mask use is not feasible, maintain a physical distance of 2 metres from others. Learn how to protect yourself in extreme heat.
Face coverings do not have to be fancy or expensive but must completely cover the mouth and nose and provide a barrier limiting the transmission of infectious respiratory droplets and can include:
- A medical mask,
- A non-medical mask or face covering
Note: masks with exhalation valves are not recommended as they do not protect others from COVID-19 and do not limit the spread of the virus. Medical masks (surgical, medical procedure face masks and respirators like N95 masks) should be reserved for use by health care workers and first responders.
For more information on non-medical masks visit Public Health Agency of Canada website. For more information about personal protective equipment including authorized products, medical gowns and face shields visit the Government of Canada’s website.
Under the Provincial Order, employees are required to wear a face covering at all times in areas accessible to the public. In areas inaccessible to the public, employees are required to wear a face covering when physical distancing of 2 metres from others cannot be maintained.
People Who Use Substances or Smoke
- The use of tobacco harms your respiratory system which is the main area of the body that COVID-19 attacks.
- It also weakens your immune system making it harder for your body to fight off the virus.
- Individuals who smoke may already have lung disease, reduced lung capacity, or cardiovascular disease which increases their risk of serious outcomes if they contract COVID-19.
- Conditions that increase oxygen needs or reduce the ability of the body to use it properly will put patients at higher risk of serious lung conditions like pneumonia.
- People who smoke or vape are likely to be at higher risk of getting COVID-19 as the act of smoking means bringing your hands to your face, increasing the likelihood of transmitting the virus.
- It is known that smoking increases the risk of both bacterial and viral infections.
- Smoking can be a social activity and sharing cigarettes or other smoking devices such as e-cigarettes and water pipes, often involve the sharing of mouth pieces and hoses, can present a risk for transmitting the virus between people.
- Currently this is not known. However, it is well know that quitting smoking improves lung health quickly
- Visit the Smokers’ Helpline webpage to learn more about the health benefits of quitting smoking.
If, in the course of your work, you encounter a client with a suspected case of COVID-19, it is recommended that you immediately report this to your Supervisor/Manager. The following are safety measures that you may consider implementing;
- Educate clients about safer drug use
- Provide clients with drug use education to prevent sharing of drug supplies and equipment.
- Focus education on the need for social distancing in order to by advising clients to reduce physical contact with other people who use drugs wherever possible
- Clients should be advised to prepare their drugs themselves
- Ensure health monitoring and surveillance activities for people who use drugs
- Identify and isolate individuals who show signs of a respiratory infection
- Closely monitor symptoms and immediately refer serious cases to the hospital
- Maintain hygiene
- Provide COVID-19 prevention supplies such as soap, alcohol-based sanitizers, trash baskets and face-masks for clients at the facility.
- Maintaining a clean space is critical in curbing the spread of COVID-19 your facility. Workers are advised to regularly disinfect and clean surfaces
- Educate clients about proper hand hygiene methods and encourage them to immediately report symptoms
- Stock up on supplies
- Stock up on essential supplies such as personal protective equipment, First Aid supplies, needles, syringes and naloxone.
- Recommend buddy up system for people who use drugs
- It is advisable for clients who are on quarantine to find buddies who can bring them food, harm reduction supplies, medicines and drugs that they require.
- Ensure clients maintain 2 metres from their buddy in order to minimize the risk of transmitting infected respiratory droplets from person to person.
Some professionals will provide tele-rehabilitation (using technology to access physiotherapy services at a distance when an in-person visit is not possible), but there are also some on-line and self-help resources available to patients to utilize to manage chronic pain without the use of opioids or other pharmacological therapies.
The high prevalence of chronic medical conditions among people who use drugs suggests that they may be at higher risk of getting infected with COVID-19. Recreational drug use is linked with reduced pulmonary function and immune suppression, both of which are risk factors for COVID-19. Because COVID-19 attacks the lungs, people who smoke or vape drugs are likely to experience severe respiratory symptoms if they become infected. With evidence showing that the odds of COVID-19 infection becoming severe is 14 times higher among people who had a history of smoking compared to those who don’t smoke, more attention should be focused on people within this population. Some examples of severe respiratory and immune system complications from drug use include:
- Tobacco and nicotine dependence from the use of cigarettes and vaping devices have been associated with negative health outcomes such as cancer, bronchitis and emphysema.
- Cannabis smoke has been shown to cause chronic bronchitis, a respiratory condition that could be worsened by COVID-19.
- Smoking crack cocaine has been associated with lung damage and severe respiratory problems. Thus, with the imminent reduced lungs function from COVID-19, people who use drugs would likely experience negative health outcomes.
- Methamphetamine has been shown to reduce lung function by constricting blood vessels. A COVID-19 diagnosis could further lead to poor prognosis.
- Opioid use can negatively impact the body’s immune system and may increase the risk of getting infected with COVID-19 virus.
- Alcohol use can negatively impact the immune system, as well as respiratory health, by weakening the lungs and upper respiratory system, causing a person to be more prone to respiratory diseases.
Other social and environmental reasons that may increase the risks of COVID-19 infection among people who use drugs include:
- High-risk activities, such as sharing drug equipment, may lead people who use substances to be less likely to follow instructions around physical distancing or other public health guidance.
- Stigma, social marginalization and economic challenges, including a lack of access to housing and health care can add to risk during this time.
Healthcare providers in RAAM clinics are encouraged to make modifications. Here are some recommendations from the network of RAAM clinic administrators and care providers across Ontario (META:PHI, 2020).
- See already-connected patients over OTN or telephone.
- Perform screening tests at the door, and see patients who screen positive through a protective barrier (e.g., a mask, a window, etc.).
- Provide masks to all patients who do not already have one.
- Increase the distance between seats in the waiting room.
- Ask patients with both cell phones and cars to wait in their cars rather than in the waiting room, and call or text them when it is their turn to be seen.
- Extend prescriptions for stable patients.
- Dedicate additional hours to booked appointments with walk-in patients who cannot be seen during regular walk-in hours due to limited space and capacity.
A patient who screens positive or is in self isolation should have someone from outside of their household to pick up their medications or the pharmacy should arrange for the delivery of medications.
Health Canada’s policy position Transportation of Controlled Substances in Canada permits pharmacists to transport controlled substances to patients with an appropriate prescription. During COVID-19, the Office of Controlled Substances has issued a short-term subsection 56(1) exemption from the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (Health Canada, 2020). Subject to the laws and regulations of the province in which the pharmacist is entitled to practice, this exemption will authorize pharmacists to:
- Prescribe, sell, or provide controlled substances in limited circumstances;
- Transfer prescriptions for controlled substances.
In Ontario, a pharmacy owner or designated manager should determine the most appropriate process, considering the particulars of the medication with respect to security and storage and articulate this process to the pharmacy team. For further guidance please review Ontario Pharmacy Association’s Pharmacist’s Role in Managing Opioid Use Disorder’s during COVID-19
For professionals in the healthcare sector that work with people who use substances, there are unique considerations due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of these include:
- Potential medication shortages,
- Pharmacy disruption to dispensing
- Patient illness or quarantine
Access to prescription medications may be limited during this time; so, it is important to work with clients, especially those that are taking Opioid Agonist Therapies (OAT), such a methadone and buprenorphine. Recent guidance for management of OAT during the COVID-19 pandemic addresses office visits, remote visits, carry doses, frequency of urine drug testing, and the re-introduction of contingency management principles (if/when applicable) during the COVID-19 pandemic (METAPHI & CAMH, 2021). For additional guidance please visit: www.metaphi.ca
Some patients that use substances or have a substance use disorder may find self-isolation and stress due to the COVID-19 pandemic could worsen their problems. Additional information on supports for these patients can be accessed on Windsor Essex Community Opioid and Substance Strategy’s website - Get Help in Windsor-Essex during COVID-19.
- It is not currently known if former smokers have a higher risk of getting COVID-19 compared to people who have never smoked.
- People who smoke are at increased risk of lung infections in general, but the lungs do heal relatively quickly when people stop smoking. It is not yet known how long is long enough to reduce the risk to the same as someone who has never smoked.
- If you previously smoked and are now quit, it is likely you will have a lower risk of severe complications (if you were infected with the virus) than you would have if you were still smoking.
When administering naloxone to client, use a face shield with one-way valve masks as it provides adequate protection to the harm reduction worker and the client. It is important to note that the use of bag valve mask, high flow oxygen and non-rebreathers may increase the risk of transmission due to possible contact with respiratory droplets.
People who use substances and their loved ones may be especially impacted by this current public health emergency. A list of local services and supports, as well as any changes to those services can be found by visiting the Windsor Essex Community Opioid and Substance Strategy’s website -Get Help in Windsor-Essex during COVID-19.
- Adapting spaces within your facility in order to increase physical distancing between clients.
- Establishing measures to prevent overcrowding such as limiting the number of visitors at the facility and reducing the duration of stay.
- Ensuring that the environment is kept clean and frequently disinfected to protect the health of the workers and clients at the facility.
- Educating clients about respiratory etiquettes to prevent spread of COVID-19
- Creating spaces within the facility that can be used to accommodate clients who show symptoms of respiratory illness.
- Monitoring the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit website for current information related to COVID-19.
Personal Service Settings
Yes, Registered Massage Therapists are permitted to provide professional services for clients. The College of Massage Therapists of Ontario has created a COVID-19 Pandemic - Practice Guidance for Massage Therapists.
Yes, a child may be accompanied by an adult if the appointment is for the child. Children should not accompany a parent/guardian to the adult’s appointment. All individuals, including a parent/guardian accompanying a child, are to be screened for COVID-19 prior to entry.
No. Waiting areas should be closed and clients should be advised to wait outside or in their vehicle until called for their appointment. Visual cues (e.g. indicating with tape) may be considered to assist clients with maintaining physical distancing outside.
Looking for additional information? The Workplace Safety & Prevention Services have created COVID-19 & Getting Back to Work: Personal Care Services.
Food/beverages should not be supplied to clients at this time, unless in extraordinary circumstances (e.g. tattooing on a client who feels faint). Clients should not bring outside food or beverages into the Personal Service Setting unless required for a medical condition.
Yes, blow drying can be done if all staff and clients are masked and if cleaning and disinfection of instruments, equipment, and workstation surfaces occur between each client.
Yes, provided the number of staff and clients is restricted at one time, a 2 metre distance between staff and clients is maintained, hand hygiene is performed between clients, and there is enough time in between clients to ensure workstations and equipment are thoroughly cleaned and disinfected.
Yes, establishments providing personal care services in a home based setting can reopen with the proper health and safety protocols in place, including all relevant legislation and guidance.
Yes. Where towels are normally used, a clean towel is to be provided to each client and laundered after each use using the warmest possible setting and dried thoroughly.
No, all workers are not required to wear gloves while they are at work. According to Medical experts, putting on gloves should be considered as an additional protective measure in circumstances where employees are prone to touching items in common areas, and where they may be exposed to chemical and biological agents. The CDC recommends wearing gloves when you are cleaning or caring for someone who is sick. The PHO guide, Glove Selection offers a bit more detail.
We recommend that when gloves are required, they should not be used in isolation but in combination with other public health directives, such as physical distancing and good hand hygiene practices, as they have been proven to be highly effective in reducing the risk of COVID-19 transmission. For more directions on how to properly use Personal Protective Equipment to protect yourself against COVID, visit Public Health Ontario website.
Yes, all equipment should be properly cleaned and disinfected after each use. This is a requirement under s.10 (4) and s.10(5) of the Personal Service Setting PSS Regulation. For more detailed information on cleaning, disinfecting, and sterilizing, including disinfection strengths and contact times in a PSS, please refer to Public Health Ontario’s Guide to Infection, Prevention and Control in Personal Service Settings, 3rd edition. No additional frequency or level of reprocessing is needed as reprocessing of instruments and equipment as per the Guide to IPAC in PSS document is sufficient to inactivate COVID-19.
Yes, personal care services, including services requiring the removal of a face covering, are permitted with capacity limited to the number of people that can maintain a physical distance of 2 metres.
All clients and staff should be actively screened for COVID-19 prior to entry using the COVID-19 Screening Tool for Employees or Customers. For clients, this should be done when booking their appointment and upon arrival for their appointment to ensure nothing has changed. Staff should also be screened prior to starting each shift. Temperature taking is not necessary as part of the screening process.
Personal Service Setting owners and operators should direct specific questions related to infection prevention and control to their Public Health Inspector, or by calling the Environmental Health Intake line at 519-258-2146 ext. 4475.
Clients can visit the Personal Care Services section on Ontario’s COVID-19 Public Health Measures page for current restrictions and requirements.
No. Prescription eyeglasses are not accepted as a form of eye protection as they may not fully cover the eye area and do not provide coverage from the side. If prescription eyeglasses are worn, another type of eye protection must be worn over the eyeglasses.
Eye protection, such as goggles, face shields, and safety glasses, can be re-used by the same user if it is cleaned/disinfected after each use or until it becomes cracked or visibility is compromised. Eye protection must be cleaned and disinfected between uses. When dry, store in a labelled paper or plastic bag.
Remove the eye protection by grasping the side arms and pulling the eye protection forward without touching the front of the eyewear, then perform proper hand hygiene.
Face shields must cover the front and sides of the face to reduce the possibility of splash, spray or respiratory droplets from going around the edges of the shield. Goggles should fit snuggly around the eyes. Safety glasses should fit snugly with no gaps between the glasses and the worker’s face. Ensure that eye protection is compatible with your face mask or covering, so there is not interference with proper wear of the mask or eyewear.
All eye protection should be properly cleaned and disinfected between uses. If manufacturer instructions for cleaning and disinfecting protective eyewear is unavailable:
- Perform proper hand hygiene; carefully wipe the inside, followed by the outside of the face shield or goggles using a clean cloth saturated with neutral detergent solution or cleaner wipe.
- Carefully wipe the outside of the protective eyewear with a healthcare grade disinfecting wipe.
- Wipe the outside with clean water or alcohol to remove residue.
- Allow to fully dry by air or use a clean absorbent towels.
- Perform proper hand hygiene.
Goggles, face shields, or safety glasses can be used as acceptable eye protection. Goggles provide the most reliable eye protection from splashes, sprays, and respiratory droplets, with a snug fit around the eyes. Face shields must cover the front and sides of the face to reduce the possibility of splash, spray or respiratory droplets from going around the edges of the shield. Safety glasses may be used but they do not provide the same level of protection from splashes, sprays and respiratory droplets as goggles or face shields. Please review the WECHU’s COVID-19 Workplace Eye Protection Fact Sheet for more information.
Under the Ministry of Ontario COVID-19 Response Framework: Keeping Ontario Safe and Open, eye protection has been added as an additional method of personal protective equipment in workplaces (in addition to a mask), during instances where patrons without face coverings are within 2 metres of workers. An example of a setting where this occurs:
Restaurants or Bars: Servers who come within 2 metres of patrons who have removed their masks to eat or drink.
Personal Service Settings: Personal service providers when they are performing a facial service on a client who must remove their mask to receive the service.
A face shield should not be worn in place of a face covering at any point in the school day. A face shield should be used as additional personal protective equipment (PPE) in situations which require added protection from respiratory droplets.
For information on authorized medical devices for use related to COVID-19, please visit the Government of Canada’s website.
As per the Ministry of Education’s guidelines, students in Grades 1-12 are required to wear a non-medical mask while indoors at school, and outdoors when physical distancing is not possible. Students in JK/SK are encouraged, but not required, to wear a mask indoors. However, local school boards may have additional masking requirements. Please refer to your individual board’s policies for more information.
Staff are also required to wear masks indoors. Please see information about the use of face coverings on the provincial COVID-19 website.
Physical distancing is an important protection measure to prevent exposures to COVID-19. This includes providing as much space as possible between student’s desks or personal spaces, in seating areas such as cafeterias and staff rooms, and for bus waiting lines to ensure physical distancing in shared spaces and lines are in effect. Please refer to your school board’s back to school plans for how your school will be implementing physical distancing measures.
Only students from the same household or within the same cohorts are permitted to share a seat on the bus. Students are to maintain a 2 metre distance between riders from front to back, as well as side to side across the aisles. Please refer to Windsor-Essex Student Transportation Services (WESTS), (also known as Buskids) for more information.
Schools will implement a more frequent cleaning and disinfecting routine according to Ministry and Public Health Ontario’s Cleaning and Disinfection for Public Settings. The recommendations include developing and reviewing a cleaning program, cleaning and disinfecting high touch surfaces, routine cleaning of outdoor surfaces, and cleaning shared objects between each use.
The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit has provided consultation and specific guidance to the Windsor-Essex Student Transportation Services (WESTS), (also known as Buskids) to address student transportation requirements related to COVID-19.
A mask should be replaced with a clean mask if soiled, or if it no longer follows the Government of Canada requirements.
Yes. Physical distancing is mandatory while riding the bus, and while waiting to load the bus. It is recommended that parents and students wear a non-medical face mask at bus stops if physical distancing cannot be maintained. Please refer to Windsor-Essex Student Transportation Services (WESTS), (also known as Buskids) for more information.
It is recommended that parents refrain from exiting their vehicle when dropping their children off at school. For parents escorting children to school on bike or walking, it is advised to limit the number of people accompanying each student to one person. Parents should immediately refrain from any social interaction during pick up and drop off between parents or between parents and teachers. Please refer to Windsor-Essex Student Transportation Services (WESTS), (also known as Buskids) as well as your school board for more information.
If a student feels sick while on the bus, or before boarding the bus, they should advise the bus driver right away who will alert dispatch or a teacher for help in informing the students’ parents. Please refer to Windsor-Essex Student Transportation Services (WESTS), (also known as Buskids) for more information.
All students and staff members must complete a self-screening questionnaire before arriving at school and must stay home if they are experiencing any symptoms. If a student or staff member becomes sick at school, the following will be applied:
- They will be isolated from others immediately and put in a separate room.
- The ill student / staff member must wear a mask until they have left the premises.
- Staff must be sent home immediately and be directed to complete the COVID-19 school and child care screening.
- The ill student will be monitored by a staff member until they are picked up from school.
- The staff member caring for the ill child waiting to be picked up must wear a surgical mask and eye protection, regardless of physical distancing.
- All objects and surfaces touched by the ill student and staff will be cleaned and disinfected immediately once sent home.
- Any objects used by the ill individual that cannot be cleaned and disinfected (i.e. books) should be sealed and stored away for a minimum of 7 days.
For school specific protocols about this process please contact your school administration.
If a COVID-19 positive case is identified in a school, the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit will provide further instructions on who else in the school may need testing and/or monitoring/isolation at that time. Staff/students who are being managed by public health (e.g. confirmed cases of COVID-19, household contacts of cases) should follow instructions provided by the Health Unit to determine when to return to school.
Reasonable exceptions to the requirement to wear masks can be put in place by schools and school boards. Please speak to your school or school board for more information around medical exemptions.
Safety information for bus riders including what personal protective equipment is needed (e.g., masking), cleaning protocols, screening, and other safety measures including information on physical distancing and what to do if a child feels sick on the bus can be found on Windsor-Essex Student Transportation Services (WESTS), (also known as Buskids) website.
Section 22 Class Order: Isolation
The person listed in the class order can challenge it by appealing to the Health Services Appeal and Review Board.
Visit the Government of Canada website to learn more about travel, testing, quarantine, and borders.
The order is in effect until the Medical Officer of Health determines it is no longer required.
Failure to comply with the order is an offence under section 101 of the Health Protection and Promotion Act for which you may be liable, on conviction, to a fine of not more than $5,000.00 (for a person) or not more than $25,000.00 (for a corporation) for every day or part of each day on which the offence occurs or continues.
Under Section 22 of the Health Protection and Promotion Act (HPPA), the Medical Officer of Health may issue an order to limit the spread of communicable disease in the community. Actions under a Section 22 Order must be necessary for reducing or removing the risk for spread of communicable diseases and can include individuals or a class of individuals. Class orders apply to groups of persons as defined in the order issued by the medical officer of health.
The following persons or class of persons may be subject to necessary modifications:
- A person or class of persons who, in the opinion of WindsorEssex County Health Unit is asymptomatic and provides an essential service, for the limited purpose of providing that essential service;
- A person receiving essential medical services or treatments, whether or not related to COVID19; or
- Where a person’s isolation, in the opinion of WindsorEssex County Health Unit, would not be in the public interest.
The class order was issued in order to contain the spread of COVID-19 and prevent widespread community transmission in the region of Windsor-Essex.
While most individuals experiencing symptoms consistent with COVID-19 or who are infected with COVID-19, as well as their close contacts, have followed self-isolation instructions, very few do not follow the necessary measures. This class order can help ensure that individuals comply with self-isolation instructions in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Temporary Foreign Workers (TFWs)
- The employer must house self-isolating workers in accommodations that are separate from those not subject to self-isolation. Review the Self-Isolation Plan Checklist  for more information.
- Workers can be housed together, but it must enable them to maintain a physical distance of 2 metres apart (e.g., beds need to be at least 2 meters apart).
- Shared facilities (e.g., bathroom, kitchen, living space) are allowed, but must have sufficient space to allow workers to follow self distance requirements.
- Each housing unit must adhere to a daily cleaning and disinfecting schedule. Use the Daily Cleaning Log to ensure that all areas are undergoing regular cleaning.
- For the duration of the self-isolation period, the employer must ensure that the accommodation does not prevent the worker from avoiding contact with older adults (65+) and those with medical conditions who are at risk of developing serious illness
- If new workers are housed for self-isolation in the same accommodation as others who are self-isolating, the clock resets to the day the most recent worker arrived.
- It is recommended that date-stamped photos be taken of the facilities to demonstrate compliance and sent to their Public Health Inspector upon request.
- Informational posters should be provided and displayed in the accommodation common areas (e.g. kitchen, living room, and bathrooms) about proper hand hygiene and cough and sneeze etiquette. Provide these resources in the workers preferred language.
Daily health checks should take place for all workers. Use the Daily Health Check Log  to keep track of each worker’s health status.
Just like all Canadians, the employer is asked to report any violation to the Quarantine Act on the part of a self-isolating worker to local law enforcement.
All owners/operators of agricultural farms in Windsor-Essex County who:
a. Employ migrant farm workers in any capacity.
b. Participate in the federal Temporary Foreign Worker program (TFW).
c. Operate any model of seasonal housing accommodations
must comply with the Class Order dated October 6, 2020 by Dr. Wajid Ahmed, Medical Officer of Health of the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit. This order requires several safety protocols related to the work environment, screening protocols, measures to facilitate contact tracing and ensure effective communication with workers, and requirements for isolation.
The full list of responsibilities and actions can be seen in the Class Order.
In addition to the requirements in the Order, all newly arriving TFWs who enter Canada by air or land must have their health checked and must isolate for 14 days upon arrival in Canada. The 14-day isolation period is mandatory even if workers show no symptoms and workers are not to be performing any work duties during this time other than cleaning and disinfecting of their accommodations.
All non-essential employee travel and non-essential visitors including suppliers and vendors should be stopped until further notice. Post signage at the farm entrance to discourage unexpected visitors from entering the property.
Develop a Self Isolation Plan and an Emergency Response Plan
Develop a self isolation plan and an emergency response plan to manage your workforce and enable employees to self-isolate  should someone exhibit symptoms or test positive for COVID-19. Due to the number of individuals who typically reside in seasonal housing accommodations, please note that this may require owners/operators to provide alternative housing arrangements for ill employees. Ensure that medical care is available to all employees if needed.
Adhere to Infection Prevention and Control Best Practices
The employer must ensure that workers have access to facilities that allow them to wash their hands often with soap and warm water, providing soap, and providing an alcohol-based sanitizer if soap and water are not available and hands are not visibly soiled.
The employer should also ensure that enhanced cleaning and disinfection protocols are being implemented in living quarters, work areas, and other common areas immediately:
- Clean all surfaces using commercially purchased multi-surface household cleaners.
- If using a disinfectant, only use those which have a Drug Identification Number (DIN). A DIN is an 8-digit number given by Health Canada that confirms it is approved for use in Canada.
- Check the expiry date of cleaning products before using them and always follow manufacturer’s instructions.
- Frequently touched surfaces are more likely to be contaminated. Surfaces that have frequent contact with hands should be cleaned and disinfected twice per day and when visibly dirty. Examples of frequently touched surfaces include doorknobs, light switches, toilet handles, sink tap handles, bedside tables, counters, tables, chairs, hand rails, buffet utensils, touch screen surfaces, TV or radio remotes, and keypads.
- Food within seasonal housing accommodations should be protected from contamination at all times. This may include safe distancing or ensuring guards or coverings for food, and utensils.
- Ensure all hand wash sinks are supplied with soap and paper towels.
- Provide computer access to allow for online shopping and delivery, including medication delivery.
- Provide grocery/meal delivery options, Click-and-Collect, etc.
- Arrange for online banking options to complete international money transfers. Ensure computer access to employees to facilitate this. Develop a schedule to prevent large groups attempting to use the computer at the same time.
- Encouraging the use of Telehealth, Ontario Telemedicine Network OTN  and online and phone health services if needed.
- Encourage employees to designate shoppers who can collect supplies for several workers or coordinate the shopping for everyone.
- Inform workers of the potential that law enforcement officers may take steps to disperse groups of individuals including workers in public spaces.
Encourage your workforce to download the HUB Connect App for ongoing updates and select Ontario if their region is not listed.
The employer must regularly monitor the health of workers who are self-isolating, as well as any employee who becomes ill after the self-isolation period.
- During the self-isolation period, the employer must communicate with workers daily by call, text, e-mail, or in-person (if no other option is available, while maintaining a 2-meter physical distance), and ask if he/she is experiencing any symptoms. A record of responses should be maintained. Use the Daily Health Check Log to keep track of each worker’s health status.
- If a worker develops symptoms at any point, the employer must immediately arrange for the worker to be fully isolate from others and call the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit (519) 258 – 2146
Employers should implement passive and active screening measures at the farm.
Passive screening involves posting up signage around the farm and living areas related to COVID-19. Signs should be:
- Clear, visible and in multiple languages if necessary
- Should have information about signs and symptoms of COVID-19, hand hygiene, and cough and sneeze etiquette.
Active screening involves setting up a screening station/table with a staff member who will verbally ask workers about any signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and provide guidance if there are any reported illnesses. Screening activities should be focused on TFWs and should be done on a regular basis throughout the day.
- Symptomatic workers should be instructed to immediately isolate themselves.
- Workers and the employer should use the online self-assessment tool for instructions on seeking further care.
- Active screening stations must be set up in a way that ensure a minimum 2 metre distance is maintained between workers and the screener.
- Hand sanitizer should be available at the screening table.
Read the Ministry of Ontario guidance document for further details on setting up an active screening station.
Temporary Foreign Workers (TFWs) Vaccine
Yes, you can continue to eat and drink as normal before and after your vaccine.
Yes, once you have completed the required 15-30 minutes of observation after your vaccine AND you have been cleared to return to the transportation vehicle, you can resume your normal activities.
Yes, you can shower as normal before and after your vaccine.
Workplaces, Employers and Employees
Depending on your type of workplace and your ability to maintain physical distancing from others, wearing a mask in your workplace may be required by one of several local or provincial mask orders.
Every worker in Ontario has the right to refuse work that he or she believes is unsafe to himself/ herself or another worker and may expose them to undue hazard. This right is covered under the Occupational Health and Safety Act. A work refusal is a last resort effort to protect the worker from exposure to the undue health hazard when efforts to have the risk mitigated have not been satisfactorily addressed.
An undue hazard is an “unwarranted, inappropriate, excessive, or disproportionate” hazard. For the COVID-19 pandemic, an “undue hazard” would be one where a worker’s job role places them at increased risk of exposure and adequate controls are not in place to protect them from that exposure. In these circumstances, the worker is advised to follow the detailed procedures outlined by the Occupational Health and Safety Act to resolve the issue.
The health unit does not issue return to work letters related to COVID-19 or any other illness. Please note that the Ontario government made changes to the Employment Standards Act and as a result employees do not need to provide a medical note if they need to be off work for illness. For more information, visit the Government of Ontario website.
All workplaces are required to prepare a safety plan and have it available in writing for review, upon request by the health unit. Learn more by visiting our COVID-19 Workplace Safety Plan Requirements page.
Due to confidentiality concerns, the health unit will not be contacting workplaces to discuss individual cases however, individuals from that workplace may be contacted as a part of the contract tracing process. Individuals should inform their employer of their test results so that proper health and safety measures can be put in place. For more information, visit the ‘Managing COVID-19 Cases in the Workplace’ webpage.
The WECHU follows up with all COVID-19 cases and close contacts of any person confirmed with COVID-19 through laboratory tests.
If you are concerned about your safety at work, please contact your human resource department or internal occupational health and safety committee. If you have been identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 you will be contacted.
- The employer should work with the employee with COVID-19 to identify if others may have been exposed at the workplace while the person was contagious.
- The employer notifies employees, who were considered to have been close contacts, to self-isolate, and instruct lower risk contacts to self-monitor for 10 days from their last exposure to the case. This should be done while maintaining confidentiality of all affected employees.
- If a person with COVID-19 discloses illness to the employer, but others at the workplace have not been exposed (e.g. staff was not present while contagious), then further contact tracing would not be needed at the workplace. For more information about best practices for handling positive cases in the workplace and reporting guidelines, visit the ‘Managing COVID-19 in the Workplace’ webpage.
You may be considered a “close contact” if there was a high-risk exposure to a person who tested positive for COVID-19. For a more detailed list of high-risk exposures, how to determine if someone was a close contact, and what to do if you may have been exposed, visit WECHU’s Individuals with Symptoms, Positive Cases, Close Contacts page or the ‘Managing COVID-19 in the Workplace’ webpage.
Downloadable signs and posters are available for printing on the Resource & Signage webpage.
Visit the Individuals with Symptoms, Positive Cases, Close Contacts webpage for more information about self-monitoring for symptoms and self-isolating.
Employers can obtain current information about COVID-19 around Windsor-Essex County by visiting the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit website and following us on Facebook. Alternatively, you may also consider visiting the Government of Ontario, Public Health Ontario and Public Health Agency of Canada websites.
The province has an information line called ‘Stop the Spread’ that businesses can call with questions at 1-888-444-3659. This number is available 7 days a week.