OHS Canada Magazine

B.C. reports 80 new COVID-19 cases, outbreak at Loblaws distribution centre

9 staff members have tested positive: Fraser Health Authority


August 21, 2020
By The Canadian Press
The Canadian Press
Categories
Health & Safety
Young Workers

VANCOUVER — A Loblaws distribution centre in Surrey is the latest community outbreak of COVID-19 in British Columbia.

The Fraser Health Authority says nine staff members have tested positive and their close contacts have been instructed to self-isolate.

It says public health workers are screening all other employees at the facility that’s operating at normal capacity.

In a news release, Fraser Health says there is no evidence that COVID-19 is transmitted through consuming packaged foods, or that it is a foodborne illness, so there is no risk to anyone outside the distribution centre.

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B.C. reported 80 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday as the number of active cases hit 780.

Two more people from the Fraser Health region have died after contracting the illness, bringing the provincial death toll to 200.

In a news briefing, deputy provincial health officer Dr. Reka Gustafson said public health workers are actively monitoring 2,574 people as a result of possible exposure to COVID-19.

“One of the reasons that the number of people who would be in isolation would increase is if a single individual who was infected spent some times in gatherings,” she said. “It’s a reflection of the types of exposures there are and the intensity of contact tracing that’s happening by the public health teams.”

Gustafson said the majority of the latest cases are still being detected in younger adults, but there have been small increases in infections among older people too.

“That’s an important thing for us to monitor because the risk of severe illness with age.”

Premier John Horgan said earlier this week that unsafe parties and gatherings are eroding efforts to keep transmission rates low and the province will be announcing enforcement action against people whose behaviour puts others at risk.

Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth is set to give an update Friday about compliance and enforcement measures under the province’s ongoing state of emergency.

Earlier on Thursday, Vancouver Coastal Health reported potential exposures to COVID-19 at the Bartholomew Bar in Vancouver.

The health authority said the exposures are believed to be low risk, but anyone who was at the bar on Aug. 13 and 14 should monitor themselves for symptoms.

Environmental health officers have also issued closure orders for Pierre’s Champagne Lounge and the West Oak Restaurant, while the Ivy Lounge in the Trump Tower closed voluntarily after public exposures to COVID-19.

B.C. has reported a total of 4,825 positive tests for COVID-19 so far.