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A total of 60 cases of COVID-19 now found at local flower farm

Latest from the pandemic in Niagara: Upcoming weekend protest could contribute to spread of deadly virus, warns Public Health

60 workers are in isolation at the Pioneer Flower Farms in St Catharines after Public Health found more cases at the farm outbreak on Wednesday.

Acting medical officer of health, Dr Mustafa Hirji said that the first 20 cases prompted a broader look at all the people who had contact with the positive cases.

Subsequently 40 new cases were reported on Wednesday, with the vast majority being workers who also have their living quarters on the farm.

"We are monitoring this quite closely and have people sent to the farm to make sure that measures are in place to prevent further spread," Hirji told Thorold News, adding that they do not know where the initial case had contracted the deadly virus.

On Thursday no new cases had emerged from the farm, but was found at the Garden City Manor long-term care home in St Catharines, which too has been put under outbreak status.

Hirji said public health is increasingly confident that the outbreak may have been contained to the farm and not spread in the broader community as they continue contact tracing.

As another weekend approaches with both seasonal temperatures and planned protests connected to the ongoing movement against racism and police violence, Hirji said it is still important to keep distance.

"We are very much in support of the cause but we think that people have to be aware of the risk of COVID-19 to come out of such a gathering. We are certainly saying that if you are sick, to not be there, and for protesters to make sure to space themselves out."

The organizer of the upcoming Saturday protest said measures are in place to keep participants 6 ft. apart.

Hirji said despite the guidelines, that distancing might be difficult, urging everyone to wear a mask and to sanitize their hands.