An internal employee email identified a trucking company with a terminal in Brandon as the source of a group of COVID-19 cases, which has now grown to seven.
While Manitoba’s chief public health officer, Dr. Brent Roussin, continued on Wednesday to refuse to name the workplace, The Brandon Sun obtained a company email to Paul’s Hauling employees Ltd. and Oak Point Service by Rod Corbett, vice-president of Winnipeg’s Paul’s Hauling.
Oak Point Service is the maintenance arm of the company.
After describing the company’s efforts to follow public health guidelines to protect staff during the COVID-19 pandemic, Corbett wrote in an email dated May 1:
“In the interests of transparency while respecting the privacy of individuals, I would like to share with you the current situation of the Brandon store.
“… We now have three confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 among our OPS Brandon staff. A weekend shift employee finished his shift on Monday April 20 and then on Wednesday April 22 he started to feel sick.
“Friday, April 24, he did not feel better and was called sick, missing his next scheduled shift on April 25, 26 and 27. On April 27, it was confirmed positive for Covid and is currently self-insulating. We contacted Santé Links and were informed that they did not think it was contagious on his last day of work, April 20, and this shift should continue to monitor itself.
“We immediately tried to have the whole weekend shift tested, but since no one was showing symptoms, they weren’t testing the rest of the people during the weekend shift. The weekend shift returned and completed its shift on April 25, 26 and 27. . One individual said he was fine but had a runny nose, no other symptoms. He accompanied another store employee over the weekend to get tested (these 2 people are carpooling to work together). They were tested on Tuesday April 28 and after Thursday April 30, they were both confirmed to be positive. The other shop worker showed NO symptoms.
“Our current plan is to close the store on Saturday May 2 and 3 and have it completely disinfected by an outside company. The weekend shift that has had 3 positive cases will be self-insulating for 14 days. We will be developing a new shift schedule for Brandon’s other two shifts with some potential for Winnipeg support. Brandon’s shop will diligently follow previously established guidelines, including self-monitoring for each employee. “
” I am not a doctor. We have satisfied all those responsible for public health. They went out. We have worked with them a lot, “said Corbett in a telephone interview with the Sun on Wednesday afternoon.
“There was nothing hidden. We were open to anything before we started all of this, ”he said. “Our pandemic plan has been approved by… public health officials. There has been no recommendation as to what we do now. “
He added, “I want my employees to trust that we are doing everything we can to make sure they are safe. “
Roussin reported the two additional cases during Wednesday’s live health briefing.
He said that staff assigned to the cluster and their close contacts were self-isolated, and officials were working with them on detailed contact tracing.
“This increase in the number of cases is what we see when a detailed contact investigation is done and we find cases related to this cluster,” said Roussin.
“The contact investigation was largely complete,” he added. “We have two new cases, so we are not concerned about a risk to the public. If there was one, we would definitely define it as soon as possible. “
The employee’s family member, who wanted to remain anonymous, said the news of the local epidemic should serve as a wake-up call to the general public. They said they were concerned for the health not only of the family member, but also of the general public.
“People are careless because they say it is not here,” they said. “I can confirm – it’s here. “
According to a company website, Paul’s Hauling Ltd. is one of the leading providers of bulk transportation services in Western Canada.
It was established in 1957 by Paul Albrechtsen in Winnipeg and now has offices and terminals in several locations across Canada.
Manitoba Health officials reported two new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, bringing the total number of confirmed and probable cases to date to 284. Five people are currently hospitalized, none in intensive care.