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Brantford-area hotels to house workers affected by COVID-19 outbreak at Norfolk Country farm

Brant County's health unit says over a hundred migrant workers connected to an outbreak at a farm in Norfolk county are staying in isolation at a number of Brantford-area hotels.
Brant County's health unit says over a hundred migrant workers connected to an outbreak at a farm in Norfolk county are staying in isolation at a number of Brantford-area hotels. Google Maps

Brant County will be taking in over 100 migrant workers who were a part of a COVID-19 outbreak at a farm in Norfolk County.

Brant County’s health unit (BCHU) says the city of Brantford, Ont., will be hosting 122 workers from the Scotlynn Group farm in Vittoria, Ont.

Dr. Elizabeth Urbantke, acting medical officer of health, said in the county’s pandemic update on Tuesday an isolation, accommodation, transportation and notification plan was underway to bring a number of seasonal migrant workers to hotels in the Brantford area to isolate for 14 days.

READ MORE: 446 new coronavirus cases, 17 deaths in Ontario as total cases rise to 28,709

“Hotel staff were briefed by Norfolk Health Unit (HNHU) personnel and were given instructions on procedures to avoid contact with these guests and how to safely discard of garbage and linens. All rooms and will be professionally disinfected after guests have left,” Dr. Elizabeth Urbantke said.

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Urbantke said the workers, who are either asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic, began arriving in the city on the weekend and have all been tested.

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The operation is a joint venture in which both HNHU and BCHU staff are expected to conduct daily wellness checks.

Urbantke said the area hotels involved have already successfully overseen 14-day quarantine protocols and have previously isolated shelter residents, front line workers, and returning travelers.

On Tuesday, the HNHU said 164 people connected to the Vittoria-area farm have now tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

The health unit says seven people have been admitted to hospital.

In all, 210 people from the farm have been tested for the virus, with 46 testing negative.

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Approximately 20,000 migrant workers come to Ontario each year to work on farms and in greenhouses. Outbreaks that have affected dozens of migrant workers have been reported in Chatham-Kent, Windsor-Essex, Niagara Region and Elgin County.

Brant county reported no new cases of COVID-19 on Tuedsay.

The region has 109 confirmed cases with no institutional or community outbreaks as of Tuesday.

The county has four deaths and 98 total resolved cases.

Meanwhile, the picture in Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit is very different as the region’s total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases is 382 — a marked increase from the 217 the counties reported on Friday.

— With files from Jacquelyn LeBel