The public’s safety and well-being is my No. 1 priority. That is why it was important for me to call a meeting of our region’s leading health officials and emergency first responders to get an update on our readiness for the possible arrival of 2019 novel coronavirus, also known as COVID-19.

As of today, there are currently no cases of novel coronavirus in Windsor and Essex County. The overall risk is low for our residents.

After hearing from Windsor-Essex County Health Unit Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Wajid Ahmed, Essex-Windsor EMS Chief Bruce Krauter, Windsor Police Service Chief Pam Mizuno, Windsor Regional Hospital CEO David Musyj and others, I am comforted by the fact that there is, as ever, excellent ongoing collaboration, communication and cooperation among all our partners in the community when it comes to COVID-19 giving me great confidence that we are ready to contain and manage the virus if and when it arrives in our region.

It is important to stress that there is no need to panic. The virus is not in our community. However, we should be vigilant and take precautions. As Dr. Ahmed advised, “Right now, your best defence is hand-washing as frequently as you can. This not only protects you from COVID-19 but from all the other circulating infections. So we need to have that practice applied all the time. That’s the key message that I want to give: It doesn’t matter if it’s COVID-19 or any other type of infection, just follow proper, good hand-hygiene and respiratory etiquette. If you’re coughing and sneezing, cough into your elbow, don’t cough at any other people. Also make sure the surfaces that you’re touching are clean. If you are symptomatic, stay home and talk to your health care provider.”

I encourage you to continue following updates from the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit on the COVID-19 on its website and social media accounts.

-Mayor Drew Dilkens