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Saturday, April 4, 2020

Employee At Owen Sound's Walmart Positive For COVID-19

Owen Sound | by Matt Hermiz  

Company spokesperson says other workers in close contact told to self-isolate, store underwent deep cleaning.

An employee at Owen Sound's Walmart has tested positive for COVID-19.

Walmart Canada's Manager of Corporate Affairs Felicia Fefer says the company was informed of a confirmed case related to one of its associates at the Owen Sound store on April 2. The employee who tested positive was last in the store March 30.

"We are keeping the associate in our thoughts and wish them a speedy recovery," Fefer says in an email correspondence.

The store remains open. As a precaution, Fefer says a deep cleaning was carried out overnight (early Friday morning). Fefer says other employees identified as being in close contact have been directed to self-isolate.

"Due to the steps we have taken and on the advice of local health authorities, the store remains open," Fefer explains. "Rest assured, we will continue to take measures necessary to ensure the well-being of our customers and associates."

Grey Bruce's Medical Officer of Health Dr. Ian Arra says Public Health often receives questions as to why it is not posting the location of every single case that occurs in the region.

He says this can be harmful because it may give the false assurance the virus exists in one place, and other areas are more safe.

"It is not better practice. We need to be cognitive of any interaction that we have in any location," says Dr. Arra. "Risk of transmission of the virus exists in the community. We have evidence of community spread."

Dr. Arra notes another reason Public Health won't post the exact location of a case is because the risk of transmission is negligible.

"Part of the case management and contact management is to call everybody that had substantial exposure," explains Dr. Arra. "We contact these people and give them the proper direction."

Dr. Arra assures the fact that there was an employee in a store (who tested positive) does not mean any item is now a source of transmission.
"I would like to reassure the public that the virus does not have legs and arms to fly. We know how it's transmitted. It is droplet transmission," Arra explains. "If a person follows the right protocols of hand-washing, social distancing and being cognitive not to touch their face -- get any item you want. Put it in a bag, go home and again hand wash. There is no substantial risk of transmission through these items."

"Having said that, we need to be cognitive of the risk of transmission anywhere in Grey Bruce," Arra continues. "It is community spread at this point."


*This story was updated from its original version to add additional information provided by Walmart Canada Corporate Affairs, and to add comments from Grey Bruce's Medical Officer of Health Dr. Ian Arra.

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