C-K COVID cases dip by 10, outbreak at Wal-Mart

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By Jenna Cocullo, Local Journalism Initiative 

Chatham-Kent got a slight break from seeing cases rise on Friday morning as CK Public Health reported 28 recoveries and 18 new cases.

The new data now brings the active total down to 114. The cumulative total has increased to 971. The death toll has officially risen to four individuals after the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance announced another COVID-19 death on Thursday morning.

Only two of the four institutional outbreaks seen this month remain active – Riverview Gardens and Fairfield Park long-term care home, Wallaceburg – with three individuals who have yet to recover.

On Friday there was a ninth workplace outbreak declared at the Wal-Mart in Wallaceburg.

Dr. David Colby, Chatham-Kent’s medical officer of health, to reporters at a press conference on Thursday that there were there were three positive cases at a box store in Chatham-Kent. At the time no outbreak was declared because “careful analysis of their activities and roles in the organization, and everything, could not find any connection between these people at the workplace. And the investigation supported that they got their infection elsewhere, but just happened to work there,” he said.

However, on Friday morning a fourth case was reported. An outbreak is usually declared by CK Public Health at a workplace when there is documented transmission within that workplace.

“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. 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,” stated Jeff Moco, CK Public Health, in an email.

Colby said that a workplace will only be shut down by Public Health “without hesitation” if it were an outbreak that could not be controlled.

The employees that needed to be notified have all been notified and “no cases or contacts have been identified for in store patrons and the risk to the public remains very low,” Moco stated.

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