Walmart Canada officials say safety is a top priority, after a number of positive COVID-19 cases among their staff in Wallaceburg.
Felicia Fefer, manager of corporate affairs for Walmart Canada, told the Sydenham Current five associates from their Wallaceburg Walmart store, located at 60 McNaughton Avenue, recently tested positive for COVID-19.
“We’re keeping the associates in our thoughts and wish them a speedy recovery,” Fefer said in an email.
“Out of an abundance of caution, associates identified as being in close prolonged contact have been directed to self-isolate. We are in contact with local public health.”
Fefer said the associates last worked December 31, January 2, two on January 3 and on January 10.
“Safety continues to be a top priority at Walmart,” Fefer added.
“Rest assured, we will continue to take measures to support the well-being of our customers and associates.”
Fefer said some of the measures being taken, include:
– Mandatory masks for customers and associates.
– Limiting the number of customers shopping in the store at one time.
– Floor markings and one-way aisles to create physical distancing.
– Increased cleaning throughout the store.
– Wellness checks that include a temperature check for all associates at the start of each shift.
– Cleaning shopping carts.
– Encouraging regular handwashing.
– Regular cleaning of work areas (including checkouts).
– Installed plexi-glass dividers at registers, customer service desks and in their pharmacies.
Last week, the Chatham-Kent Public Health Unit declared a workplace outbreak at the Walmart store in Wallaceburg.
“After a fourth positive case (on Thursday, January 13, 2021) in employees of Wallaceburg Walmart, a workplace outbreak has been declared,” CK Public Health officials told the Sydenham Current on Friday, January 15, 2021.
“Our contact tracing has not confirmed that transmission is happening in the workplace, but at this time workplace transmission cannot be ruled out as the cases could have shared work areas.”
CK Public Health officials added: “As there is no common source of exposure that has been identified outside of the workplace, an outbreak has been declared and CK Public is conducting further testing.”
All close contacts of cases have been identified, notified, and isolated in order to prevent further spread, CK Public Health officials added.
“No cases or contacts have been identified in store patrons and the risk to the public remains very low,” public health officials say.
“Anyone who has not been contacted by CK Public Health does not need to be concerned about exposure risk. CK Public Health continues to investigate and manage the situation.”
Jeff Moco, a spokesperson for CK Public Health, told the Sydenham Current on Monday, January 18, 2021, testing was arranged for employees of the Wallaceburg store.
“In terms of Walmart, we arranged for testing of their staff over the weekend and we’re currently waiting on test results before saying further details,” Moco said.
When positive COVID-19 results are received public health nurses contact the cases and conduct “a thorough investigation” that includes ensuring they are safely isolated until they are no longer infectious, Moco told the Sydenham Current last week.
“The case management process also includes identifying and isolating close contacts in order to reduce risk of further transmission,” he said.
“In terms of workplace protocols, it is often up to the employer how they communicate with their staff in terms positive cases.”
For more information about COVID-19, residents are asked to visit
http://www.ckpublichealth.com/covid19 or call the CK Public Health COVID-19 intake line at 519-355-1071 ex. 1900.