By Sue Tiffin
An employee of the Minden Post Office has tested positive for COVID-19, according to Canada Post.
“We informed our employees at the Minden Post Office last week [Oct. 8], that one of their colleagues reported a positive test for COVID-19, having been exposed to the virus outside of the workplace,” read a statement from the corporation on Oct. 14 in a response to an inquiry from the Minden Times. “The employee had last been at work almost two weeks prior and were asymptomatic at that time and when they reported to us.”
A media relations representative for Canada Post said they were notified on Wednesday night, Oct. 7, by the employee about the positive test.
“The office, which has seven other employees, was informed on Thursday [Oct.8],” said the representative.
The statement notes the staff member practiced physical distancing in the post office.
“As per our protocols, to ensure the safety of our employees and our customers, the post office is cleaned on a regular basis,” reads the statement.
The post office also has floor decals to reinforce physical distancing and Plexiglas at the counter to provide additional safety measures.
“We are in contact with public health and follow their recommendations and guidance very closely,” reads the statement to the Times. “The Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit investigated this case including contact tracing, and anyone who was required to complete testing and quarantine were contacted directly by the health unit.”
The Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit responded on Oct. 19 to questions from the Times, clarifying health unit policy.
“Information about a case’s place of work is highlighted in the case and contact record only if it is part of the investigation. This would happen if the person acquired the infection at their workplace or they were at the workplace while they were infectious, resulting in their co-workers being considered high risk contacts requiring follow-up by the Health Unit,” said Chandra Tremblay, communications staff with the health unit. “From what I understand, this was not the situation with the case in Haliburton County.”
“Again, while I cannot provide specifics about the individual, they may have contacted their employer to alert them to their positive test results. The employer may then have contacted the Health Unit for further direction. If there was no need for a workplace investigation, the health unit would not have contacted any additional co-workers about testing or self-isolation.”
Regarding the safety of mail delivery, Tremblay said: “Current evidence shows the main way COVID-19 spreads is through person-to-person direct contact and respiratory droplets that have the potential to be propelled for up to two metres. According to Public Health Ontario, there are no reports of COVID-19 being spread through handling groceries or similar items, or of foodborne related illnesses. The most important thing to know about coronavirus on surfaces is that they can easily be cleaned with common household disinfectants that will kill the virus. Studies have shown that the COVID-19 virus can survive for up to 72 hours on plastic and stainless steel, less than four hours on copper and less than 24 hours on cardboard. As always, regularly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water. Avoid touching your eyes, mouth, or nose.”