Brant County Health Unit not consulted before COVID-19 positive farm workers’ move but reassured

During a bi-weekly media briefing, the Brant County Health Unit’s Acting Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Elizabeth Urbantke, stated she was not consulted before the move of 122 COVID-19 positive migrant workers to a Brantford hotel for quarantine.

“I can’t tell you specifically about the decision-making process. I was not involved in it,” Dr. Urbanke says. “I was informed after the decision had been made and things were in progress. Obviously we would have preferred to be involved right from the get-go, but I have seen the plans and over the past few days there haven’t been any compliance issues so I’m reassured by that.”

Dr. Urbanke adds, she can understand the community’s fear and anxiety but feels confident with the isolation place provided by the Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit. “We are in daily contact with Haldimand-Norfolk getting updates,” Dr. Urbantke says. “Also, all our first responders have been informed and given details to ensure their safety and adequate response.”

One hundred twenty-two migrant workers affected by a COVID-19 outbreak at a farm in Vittoria were moved to the Best Western Brant Park Inn in Brantford early this week to complete their mandatory 14 day isolation period.

The move prompted Brantford and Brant County officials to call for an investigation as they were not informed or consulted before the workers were already re-locating to the city.