Seven employees at Costco store in Vaughan positive for COVID-19

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TORONTO –
A total of seven employees at a Costco facility in Vaughan have now tested positive for COVID-19, public health officials confirmed Monday evening.

In a post on Twitter on Sunday evening, the mayor of Vaughan, 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 it was now investigating seven confirmed cases among staff at the Colossus Drive location.

“We have carried out risk assessments on the activities of these people at work and determined that the risk of transmission of COVID-19 to the general public is low,” said the press release.

The first employee to test positive for the virus was the last to work on April 2, while the last employee to test positive for the virus was the last to work on April 23.

A health department spokesperson told CP24 that due to privacy concerns, he would not disclose the areas of the store where the affected employees worked. The signage at the site encourages people to practice social distancing, but does not say that employees there tested positive for COVID-19, said York Region Public Health.

In a statement provided to CP24 earlier Monday, a York Region public health spokesman said officials immediately conducted a thorough investigation which included contact tracing after learning of the positive cases from Costco. The spokesperson also said that York Region public health “continues to work with management to ensure that appropriate infection prevention and control measures are taken, including cleaning and disinfection.”

“There have been two on-site inspections and a third is planned for this week,” wrote Patrick Casey. “These inspections include, but are not limited to, physical remoteness inside and outside the facility; limit the number of staff in the staff room, ensure that a hand sanitizer is available, check staff before the start of their shift, set up aisles that move in one direction, among other precautions.

Of the positive cases confirmed at Vaughan Costco, at least two are in close contact with each other.

Bevilacqua said that in addition to precautions regarding cleaning and disinfection, Costco also installed barriers to ensure that customers physically distance themselves from each other in the line to enter the store and hired security guards to impose physical distance.

“At the moment, the risk to Costco buyers there is considered to be low,” he said in his previous post on Twitter. “All residents are encouraged to stay at home when possible, limit travel outside the home, practice good hand hygiene, and maintain a physical distance of at least two meters when they are in public, “he said.

The news of the Costco positive cases comes just days after the reopening of a building next to Longo at 9200 Weston Road in Vaughan, after two weeks of closure after positive tests by eight staff members.

As of Monday morning, 1,405 confirmed cases of COVID-19 had been reported in York region, including 82 deaths.

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