Point Edward, ON – Lambton Public Health is working in partnership with Bluewater Health, Lambton EMS, Ontario Health and the Central Lambton Family Health Team to support local farms during COVID-19. The outreach is intended to protect local temporary foreign workers from COVID-19 risk through support, risk mitigation and surveillance testing.
Voluntary testing is being offered to all Lambton County farms that hire temporary foreign workers as seasonal employees. A mobile COVID-19 outreach testing team, comprised of staff from Bluewater Health, Lambton EMS and Central Lambton Family Health Team, has completed 86 COVID-19 tests on six area farms in the past two weeks.
“The mobile unit from Lambton EMS allows for on-site testing at the farm property,” stated Anita Trusler, Health Promotion Supervisor at Lambton Public Health. “The support of Central Lambton Family Health Team has been an asset given their rural context and their ability to assist with the language needs of the workers.”
Public Health Inspectors from Lambton Public Health routinely inspect local farms to ensure the accommodations for temporary foreign workers meet Public Health requirements. The Government of Ontario has issued specific guidance for farm operators to further protect these workers from COVID-19.
Lambton Public Health conducted outreach with all Lambton County farm operators in the spring to confirm the number of workers on each farm, discuss isolation plans and screening protocols and offer support for testing. To support these conversations, several resources have been developed for local farms to access on the website LambtonPublicHealth.ca.
In response to concerns identified by farm outbreaks in other areas of the province, Dr. Sudit Ranade, Medical Officer of Health for the County of Lambton issued a letter to all local farm operators in June requiring they attest to:
- Not knowingly relocate or accept any temporary foreign worker to the County of Lambton from an operation that is currently experiencing an outbreak of COVID-19; and
- Not move any temporary foreign worker from one Public Health jurisdiction to another during an individual’s 14 day quarantine period.
Dr. Ranade adds, “The response has been good and we are having regular conversations with local farm operators on how to prevent COVID-19 transmission and manage the risk for any possible outbreak.”
Lambton County is expecting to see between 200-300 temporary foreign workers travel to our community for seasonal work, based on reports from farm operators to Lambton Public Health as part of ongoing risk assessment.
Testing results on Lambton County farms includes 84 results confirmed negative and 2 pending lab confirmation for all workers tested.
Supervisor Health Promotion
County of Lambton