COVID-19 cases in Lincoln dropping since last week’s outbreak

Outbreak update at Lincoln Agricultural operation The Town of Lincoln is seeing a decrease in COVID-19 cases numbers after last week's workplace outbreak at a Lincoln agricultural operation. Stock photo.

The Town of Lincoln is seeing a decrease in COVID-19 cases numbers after last week’s workplace outbreak at a Lincoln agricultural operation.

The news comes as Ontario releases a new strategy to help prevent and control outbreaks in the agri-food sector.

Last Tuesday, Niagara Regional Public Health reported a new daily record of 63 cases, of those cases 45 were traced to a workplace outbreak in an agricultural operation in Lincoln. The business doesn’t have public facing operations, Niagara Public Health said, so there was minimal risk to the public. 

Today, the NRPH reported 9.4 cases per 10,000 population in Lincoln. Based on Niagara Info’ estimates against growth over 2016 census numbers, there are approximately 23 cases in the area currently.

In response to the spike in cases, Lincoln Mayor, Sandra Easton and Chief Administrative Officer and Director of Emergency Operations Centre, Michael Kirkopoulos, issued a statement to residents. They called the spike in cases “concerning” and urges residents to remain vigilant and continue to follow the public health guidelines set out by the province and NRPH.

“As a community, we have been doing very well at keeping the case numbers low – and we encourage you to not to give up now,” said the statement.

Since last week, the Niagara Region has seen cases continue to drop. After Tuesday’s report of 63 cases, daily case numbers have remained below 30, with Friday reporting cases as low as 12.

Ontario releases prevention strategy for agri-food workers

In response to outbreaks like this one, the Ontario government is implementing a new support strategy to prevent COVID-19 spread on farms and protect agri-food workers in the food supply chain for the 2021 season.

The three-pillar strategy called, Prevention, Control and Outbreak Support Strategy for COVID-19 in Ontario’s Farm Workers, provides guidance and actions designed to help improve prevention and control, ensure worker safety, and maintain sustainability in the agri-food sector.

The three pillars include – before getting on the farm, on the foam, and farm worker housing. Under the pillars are 35 actions addressed to farmers and workers, as well as all levels of government and stakeholders, to help prevent and control outbreaks on farms.

Some of these actions include:

  • Farmers ensuring there is a COVID-19 prevention and control plan in place
  • Farmers having to commit to daily screening and the government providing training for farmers on how to conduct an effective screening
  • Government and farmers promoting increased access to health and wellness support services for workers (e.g. mental health support)
  • Government and industry ensuring that Temporary Foreign Workers are given a package of information on prevention and control of COVID-19 on their arrival
  • Industry to make farmers aware of services provided by Workplace Safety and Protection Services (WSPS) outlined in the “Working with farm operators to stop the spread of COVID-19 on farms” to identify areas of risk
  • Industry to make farmers aware of available PPE supplies such as masks, gloves, shield, hand sanitizer, and counter guards

Ontario Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, Ernie Hardeman said: the Ontario government understands the impact COVID-19 outbreaks have had on farm workers, farms, greenhouses and agri-businesses. “Our new strategy will help them to be even more effective in controlling this pandemic, protect our food supply chain and keep workers safe,” he said.

More info:

Original new release
Lincoln statement on outbreak
COVID-19 weekend roundup for Ontario and Niagara