An employee at Kubota Materials Canada Corporation has tested positive for COVID-19.
According to an internal memo obtained by OrilliaMatters, the employee did not contract the potentially lethal virus at the workplace.
“When learning of this development, we launched our internal protocols,” says a company memo signed by Jason Dillman.
The company, acting on the advice and direction of the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU), has done its “own internal contact tracing, meaning we have contacted any employee that may have been in contact with the positive case individual,” says the memo.
The health unit will also conduct its own contact tracing.
Anyone who may have been exposed to the individual is required to exclude themselves from work and provide a negative COVID-19 test before returning to the Commerce Road facility, where about 250 employees are employed.
The company, notes the memo, has also contacted and reported this positive case to the Ministry of Labour and the health unit, as required.
Over the weekend, Kubota will have “an outside company here .. to conduct an industrial disinfection of the areas that could have been exposed to contamination.”
The memo reminds staff to abide by public health protocols, stressing “the health and safety of all of our employees is of paramount concern to the company and we will take quick action in future if further cases develop.”
The memo reminds staff that they “all have a part to play” and urges them to “do all you can to help stop the spread of COVID-19.”
Dr. Charles Gardner, the medical officer of health for SMDHU, expressed concerns about workplace outbreaks when he met, virtually, with Orillia city councillors this week during budget deliberations.
He said he is considering issuing an order “to strengthen compliance with the province’s requirements about work environments.”
Since the pandemic began, there have been 14 workplace outbreaks in the Simcoe-Muskoka region, with three ongoing, and 11 declared over. One person in the region has died after contracting COVID-19 through a workplace outbreak.
According to the health unit, 73 Simcoe County residents have contracted COVID-19 because of workplace outbreaks in the region. In addition, 21 Simcoe County residents have contracted COVID-19 because of workplace outbreaks outside of the region.
The situation at Kubota is not considered an outbreak, although that is up to the health unit to declare.
“Right now I’m very interested in work environments because that’s where we’re seeing so much of our transmission and we're looking at the potential of developing our thinking about an order to strengthen compliance to province's requirements about work environments,” said Gardner.