Seven employees at Costco store in Vaughan test positive for COVID-19
The sign outside of a Costco wholesale store. (THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Lars Hagberg)
Chris Fox and Joshua Freeman, CP24.com
Published Monday, April 27, 2020 5:39AM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, April 28, 2020 2:52PM EDT
A total of seven employees at a Costco location in Vaughan have now tested positive for COVID-19, public health officials confirmed Monday evening.
In a message posted to Twitter on Sunday night, Vaughan Mayor Maurizio Bevilacqua confirmed that there were five cases at the store near Highway 7 and Weston Road. However in a statement released Monday evening, York Region Public Health said they are now investigating seven confirmed cases among staff at the Colossus Drive location.
“We conducted risk assessments on the activities of these individuals while at work and determined the risk of COVID-19 transmission to the general public is low,” the statement read.
The first employee to test positive for the virus was last at work on April 2, while the latest employee to test positive for the virus was last at work on April 23.
A spokesperson for the health department told CP24 that due to privacy concerns, they will not be disclosing which areas of the store the affected employees worked at. Signage up at the location encourages people to practice social distancing, but does not say that employees there have tested positive for COVID-19, York Region Public Health said.
In a statement provided to CP24 earlier Monday, a spokesperson for York Region Public Health said that officials immediately conducted an extensive investigation that included contact tracing upon learning of the positive cases at Costco. The spokesperson also said that York Region Public health “continues to work with management to ensure appropriate infection prevention and control measures are being taken, including cleaning and disinfecting.”
“There have been two on-site inspections and a third is scheduled for this week,” Patrick Casey wrote. “These inspections include but are not limited to, physically distancing inside and outside the facility; limiting numbers of staff in staff room, ensuring hand sanitizer is available, staff being screened prior to starting their shift, implementing aisles that move in one direction, among other precautions.”
Of the positive cases confirmed at the Vaughan Costco, at least two are close contacts of one another.
Bevilacqua said that in addition to precautions around cleaning and disinfecting, Costco has also installed barriers to ensure that customers are physically distancing from each other in the line to get into the store and hired security guards to enforce physical distancing.
“At this time, the risk to Costco shoppers at this location is considered low,” he said in his earlier message posted to Twitter. “All residents are encouraged to stay home when possible, limit trips outside the home, practice good hand hygiene and maintain physical distancing of at least two metres when in public,” he said.
News of the positive cases at the Costco location comes just days after a nearby Longo’s location at 9200 Weston Road in Vaughan reopened after closing for two weeks following positive tests by eight staff members.
There had been 1,405 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in York Region as of Monday morning, including 82 deaths.