The Brant County Acting Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Elizabeth Urbantke, says she will be issuing a Section 22 class order to all local farms.
Under a Section 22 order in the Health Protection and Promotion Act, a Medical Officer of Health may require a class of people to take or refrain from taking any action specified in the order concerning a communicable disease.
Dr. Urbanke says, the majority of the order will formalize the guidance already provided to ensure they continue to prevent the spread of COVID-19 amongst their workforce. “This includes a mandatory 14-day quarantine for those arriving from out of the country before beginning work,” explains Dr. Urbanke. “In addition, employees will be restricted to working on only one farm and will be instructed to work within the same confined group while on the farm.”
Dr. Urbanke adds the formal requirements are necessary due to the lessons learned from other jurisdictions.
“Farm operators will also be asked to keep accurate documentation of all employees, both local and temporary, to assist with the case and contact management should an outbreak occur,” Dr, Urbanke says. “Up until this point, our local farm operators have been very receptive to the guidance we’ve provided them.”
There are about 400 migrant workers on Brant area farms, with more expected to arrive over the growing season. There have been no COVID-19 outbreaks or cases at farms with Brant.
Dr. Urbantke says the order applies to both foreign and local farm workers.