13 COVID-19 cases confirmed among staff at Toronto quarantine hotel near Pearson airport
Crowne Plaza Toronto Airport is seen in this undated photo.
Published Tuesday, May 4, 2021 6:46PM EDT
Toronto Public Health says that 13 staff members have tested positive for COVID-19 at a Toronto airport hotel where travellers are being required to quarantine after coming into the country.
The Crowne Plaza Toronto Airport Hotel is currently being used as a federal quarantine site for travellers entering Canada from abroad, and is managed by the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC).
“As of this morning, there are 13 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in staff members at the hotel,” Toronto Public Health said in a statement released Tuesday evening. “TPH has provided instructions to staff members who have tested positive, and those who are considered a close contact.”
The statement went on to say that the “risk to the public remains low” as the hotel is a designated quarantine facility that is not open to the general public for use.
Local and federal officials conducted on-site inspections at the hotel on Tuesday, a day after reporters grilled Toronto's top doctor Eileen de Villa about reported cases of COVID-19 at the quarantine hotel.
In its statement Tuesday, Toronto Public Health said the hotel has already complied with all of its recommendations.
“This inspection found that there is a strong adherence to public health measures and infection prevention and control opportunities for improvement were noted including further reducing lunch room capacity, posting additional signage and centralizing staff screening,” the statement said.
A Section 22 order issued by de Villa last month gives the health unit the authority to partially or fully close down a workplace where five or more COVID-19 cases have been reported within the past 14 days.
TPH said in a statement that the hotel will not be fully closed as it "provides an essential service to keep Torontonians safe,” but left the door open to a possible partial closure.
“Given that COVID-19 and the more transmissible variants of concern continue to circulate in the community, it is not unexpected there are COVID-19 cases at this facility or any workplace in the city,” the statement read. “This is why it is more important than ever to limit interactions to household members and to only leave the house when absolutely necessary.”
All international travellers entering Canada must stay at a government-approved quarantine hotel for three nights as they await the result of a COVID-19 test taken after touching down in the country.