News Release: Two (2) Township Employees Test Positive for COVID-19

Posted On Friday April 03, 2020
Early last week the Township was notified that two (2) of its Public Works employees had been unknowingly exposed to a single confirmed case of COVID-19. This exposure occurred outside of the workplace and was not work-related.
 
In response, the Township immediately directed those two (2) employees to self-isolate as per current public health protocols.
 
As a precautionary measure, the Township also directed six (6) other Public Works employees that came in contact with those individuals to self-isolate for a period of 14 days. Those additional isolations exceeded public health recommendations for those that may have had contact with persons who were exposed to COVID-19, but had not tested positive.
 
Last weekend (March 28-29), following that initial incident, the Township was notified that the first two (2) employees in self-isolation had tested positive for COVID-19. As noted, both individuals were already in self-isolation at that time; however, additional Public Works staff who had come in contact with those individuals before they were in isolation, were also required to self-isolate.
 
The Township was able to contact all employees needing to self-isolate before any of them reported to work on Monday, March 30.
 
KFL&A Public Health is actively monitoring both confirmed cases and has followed up directly with individuals who came in close contact with those confirmed cases of COVID-19.
 
Mayor Ron Vandewal expressed his concern for those who have tested positive and those in self-isolation, “We are certainly thinking about all of our employees who have been affected by this situation. I recognize the stress and anxiety this creates for them and their families.” The Mayor continued, “This situation has shown us that a single encounter with a COVID-19 case can have a significant impact on our workforce, regardless of where exposure occurs.”
 
Prior to this incident, the Township had been proactive in reducing the chance of workplace exposure by dividing Public Works staff into multiple groups that each reported to a dedicated facility with dedicated equipment. Enhanced cleaning, limited vehicle and equipment sharing and social distancing measures have also been in place.
 
“With community spread of COVID-19 now occurring in the region, it’s more important than ever for us to take appropriate measures to protect employees from COVID-19 and slow the spread of the virus within our communities.” Said Neil Carbone, Chief Administrative Officer for the Township. “I want to thank those affected employees for reporting this situation immediately and for adhering to all the requirements once they became aware. I also want to thank KFL&A Public Health for supporting our employees and for working closely with the Township during this process.”
 
Despite the short-term reduction in staff, the Township has been able to maintain its essential services including road grading, drainage control, garbage and recycling collection, and other public works activities.
 
“We anticipate some of those employees in self-isolation to begin returning early next week following their 14-day self-isolation. We hope to have our full staff complement available again by the following week.” Said Mark Segsworth, Director of Public Services. “We have an excellent team in the Public Services Department and I’m proud of how they have pulled together to get us through this challenging situation.”
 
For further information, please contact Neil Carbone, Chief Administrative Officer at 613-376-3027 ext.2225 or ncarbone@southfrontenac.net.
 
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