Another confirmed case of COVID-19 at Oshawa grocery store where manager died after contracting virus
Chris Fox, CP24.com
Published Sunday, March 29, 2020 6:44AM EDT
Last Updated Sunday, March 29, 2020 2:08PM EDT
A second employee at an Oshawa grocery store has tested positive for COVID-19, just days after a manager at the store died after contracting the virus.
Loblaws confirmed late Saturday night that a second employee at its Real Canadian Superstore location on Gibb Street had presumptively tested positive for the virus.
According to Durham Public Health, the employee is a man in his 70s who is now self-isolating at home.
Loblaws said that after becoming aware of the latest positive test it decided to close the store and bring in a third-party crew to “thoroughly clean and disinfect” the premises.
The store was closed at 6 p.m. Saturday and reopened at 10 a.m. on Sunday.
The news of the positive test comes following the death of 48-year-old Keith Saunders.
Saunders, who worked as a manager at the store, became sick earlier this month after first contracting the virus and was admitted to hospital. He was eventually transferred to the intensive care unit, where he passed away on Wednesday night.
Public health officials have previously said that he had no pre-existing medical conditions and no known travel history.
"My sweet gentle giant husband Keith Saunders passed away last night," his wife, Katy Saunders, wrote on Facebook Thursday. "I lost my soulmate and angel. But he's now a real angel watching down on me. You fought till your last breath. We will be together again soon."
In a written statement provided to CP24 on Sunday, a spokesperson for Loblaws said that the company has worked closely with public health officials to ensure that any colleagues “who may have been directly exposed are not in the store.” The spokesperson also said that Loblaws has informed the community about the positive test through social media and, where possible, personal emails.
“With the community spread of COVID-19, it’s unfortunate but probable that some stores will be affected. That’s why we have enhanced our sanitization and protections,” Catherine Thomas wrote.
In a statement issued on Sunday afternoon, Durham Public Health said that it has verified that the store “retained a third-party cleaning company to thoroughly clean and disinfect all areas, including the staff areas, public areas, washrooms, etc” in light of the second confirmed case. The statement also noted that the store has “put in additional precautionary measures.”
“As community spread continues, we appeal to everyone to be especially vigilant and encourage all area residents to take the practice of social and physical distancing very seriously,” the statement notes. “Please take the necessary precautions to protect yourself and others in our community. Everyone’s help is urgently needed, and we have to work together to ensure community safety.”