Coronavirus Canada updates: Another migrant worker dies in Ontario

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Coronavirus Canada Updates: Nunavut reaches new high of 70 COVID-19 cases on Wednesday
Coronavirus Canada Updates: Nunavut reaches new high of 70 COVID-19 cases on Wednesday

A third migrant worker has died in Ontario, this time involving a farm near Simcoe, Ont.

The temporary worker was employed by Scotlynn Group, a large-scale farming operation in Vittoria, Ont., according to CBC, who received confirmation from the Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit.

At least 199 migrant workers at the farm have tested positive for the virus, as well as 18 other people in association with Scotlynn Group.

Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit did not provide more details on the latest fatality in Ontario related to COVID-19, but officials did say through a press release that the migrant work was in intensive care before he passed.

“I’m extremely saddened at this loss of life,” said Kristal Chopp, chair of the Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit board of health. “It’s an absolute tragedy that someone who comes to Canada to work in the agricultural industry and support his family back home loses his life so far from his loved ones. My sincerest condolences go out to the individual’s family during this difficult time.”

An outbreak at Scottlyn Group was first declared at the end of May when 85 migrant workers, all from Mexico, had tested COVID-19 positive.

The first two fatalities involving migrant workers on farms occurred in the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit. The first was reported at the end of May, involving 31-year-old Bonifacio Eugenio Romero from Mexico. Shortly after, Rogelio Muñoz Santos, a 24-year-old worker also from Mexico, died of COVID-19.

In Windsor-Essex, there are currently 350 farm workers who have contracted the respiratory virus.

According to CBC, Scottlyn Group has sent 119 workers into quarantine in hotels in nearby Brantford, to go along with those who have recently arrived as part of self-isolation rules.

Migrant workers have been permitted to come to Canada amid the pandemic, but they must self-isolate for 14 days upon their arrival. In early April, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau allocated $50 million in federal funding to help employers of migrant workers as they adapt to the challenges of COVID-19 quarantine rules.

COVID-19 outbreaks have also been reported among temporary foreign workers in Ontario, British Columbia and Manitoba.

About 20,000 migrant workers come to Ontario each year to work in greenhouses and on farms, many from Mexico, the Caribbean and Guatemala.

Hundreds of cases among migrant workers have been reported across Ontario at farms part of the Haldimand-Norfolk, Windsor-Essex, Niagara Region, Southwestern and Chatham-Kent public health units.

Migrant workers have complained about a lack of information and proper equipment to protect them from getting infected, according to the United Food and Commercial Workers union in Canada.

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