Keswick Walmart Supercentre

By: Mike Anderson

An employee at the Keswick Walmart Superstore has tested positive for COVID-19.

York Region Public Health said the employee was tested for the virus on June 12, but, according to Walmart Canada, the employee’s last day at work was June 15 – three days after being tested.

While test results are usually available after 72 hours, public health could not confirm when the employee received the positive result.

Public health guidelines state that symptomatic individuals, or close contacts of COVID-19 cases, should self-isolate while waiting for test results.

Still, it’s not clear whether or not the employee was symptomatic at work on June 15, nor is it clear what department the employee was working in, as Walmart Canada has not released that information.

So far, public health reports there were no workplace close contacts and no employee-to-employee transmission; however, contract tracing is still in progress.

“Risk of COVID-19 exposure to the public in this case is low. As a result, no posted public notice was necessary,” said Patrick Casey, Director, Communications, York Region, in an email to The Post.

“At this point, York Region Public Health continues to monitor the situation through enhanced surveillance and daily check-ins. Infection prevention and control measures in the store have been reviewed and assessed to ensure compliance with recommendations.”

While the virus can remain on hard surfaces for several hours to days, Walmart Canada says it has taken steps to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

“We conducted a deep cleaning and have regular enhanced cleaning in the store and other social distancing measures in place,” said Felicia Fefer, manager, Corporate Affairs, Walmart Canada, in an email to The Post on June 19.

“Rest assured; we will continue to take measures necessary to ensure the well-being of our customers and associates.”

According to Ms. Fefer, those measures include temperature and wellness checks for all associates at the start of each shift.

Walmart Canada also encourages regular hand washing, enhanced cleaning at checkouts, and offers associates gloves and masks.

While masks are not mandatory for employees, they are recommended:

“We’re also distributing voluntary personal protective equipment (masks and gloves) to associates and strongly recommend they wear masks while at work,” states Horacio Barbeito, President and CEO, Walmart Canada on the company website.

However, The POST found that many associates in the Keswick Walmart were not wearing face coverings, including some store greeters.

Meanwhile, the infected employee, according to public health, is in self-isolation.

“We are keeping the associate in our thoughts. Everyone at Walmart wishes them (sic) a speedy recovery,” said Ms. Fefer.



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