A Prince Rupert staff member of Shoppers Drug Mart has tested positive on a presumptive case of COVID-19, Loblaw Companies Limited, the parent company of the pharmacy chain, has announced.
“Yes, we were informed on Friday (Oct. 23) that one of our team members from the Shoppers Drug Mart located at 500 2nd Ave, Prince Rupert has recently tested positive for COVID-19,” Loblaw Companies Limited Public Relations told The Northern View in an email on Oct. 26.
“We have been working with the local public health team and have taken a number of steps to minimize risk, including increased sanitization protocols and enforcing social distancing practices in the store. The store also arranged for additional cleaning,” the written communication said.
The Loblaw website reports the last day the Shoppers Drug Mart employee worked was Oct. 17.
“Team members who worked closely with this individual are now at home in self-isolation, monitoring for any symptoms,” Loblaw public relations said.
“We are committed to transparency and post each positive case to our website. For the privacy of the team member, we’re unable to provide any further information,” Loblaw P.R. said.
Northern Health Media Relations Manager, Eryn Collins said while Northern Health does not confirm cases reported by third-parties, or rumoured cases in any given community, unless there is a public health reason to do so – businesses can and have disclosed COVID-19 cases among their employees in a variety of settings across the region.
“In terms of what it’s important for the public to know, there are a few things I would highlight,” Collins said. “When there is a confirmed case anywhere in the north, public health is notified so they can do the required contact tracing.”
“Anyone who is identified as a close contact of a confirmed COVID-19 case, regardless of the setting (workplace, or otherwise) would be notified that they have potentially been exposed and be supported in the appropriate measures they need to take,” Collins said.
“Individuals who have not had close interactions with, or who have been simply present in the same location as, a confirmed case do not need to take additional precautions beyond the public health advice and guidance for all British Columbians, for the prevention of COVID-19.”
Collins said if there was a concern that public health could not identify and directly contact everyone who may have been at risk from a potentially infectious case in a public setting, then they would issue a public exposure alert.
“But I can confirm, again, that there are no public exposure alerts in effect anywhere in the north at this time, and if public health has not notified someone directly that they are a close contact of a confirmed case, there is no need for action beyond self-monitoring for symptoms,” Collins said.
“If people remain healthy and do not develop symptoms, there is no need to self-isolate and people can continue with their usual daily activities.”
Public exposure alerts can be found on the Northern health website: https://www.northernhealth.ca/health-topics/public-exposures-and-outbreaks
“Finally – with respect to testing – all Northern BC residents are encouraged to self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms on an ongoing basis, and – if symptoms develop – self isolate, and contact their primary care provider or the NH COVID-19 Online Clinic & Info Line (1-844-645-7811), to be assessed for testing,” Collins said. “We ask that people who are experiencing symptoms not head to a testing centre without an appointment…. this is for the protection of staff and other patients at COVID-19 test collection centres, to prevent potential spread of COVID-19.”
K-J Millar | Journalist
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