Manitoba’s deputy public health administrator –

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Manitoba’s deputy public health administrator – fr


Manitoba’s deputy public health administrator insists that few people catch COVID-19 at work and says even some cases where people contract the virus at work should not be considered community transmission.
“The majority of these cases are related to workplaces, it is not the workplace that is involved,” said Dr Jazz Atwal on Friday at a press briefing.

“These are things that surround him, like coming to work, leaving work, being friends with others at work, getting together at a social gathering or having a little break in the protocols that workplaces have. put in place. “

Atwal said the transmission of COVID-19 during a lunch break at work would not constitute transmission in the workplace. He also said that contracting COVID-19 from someone in your carpool on the way to work would also not be considered a transmission in the workplace.

According to a public health note obtained by CBC News, 72 workplaces in Winnipeg were suspected of having clusters of COVID-19 cases from March 1 to May 19, with 39 of those clusters identified in May alone.

Atwal said the public may not understand what a cluster stands for, stressing that having multiple cases in the same workplace does not mean transmission is occurring in that workplace.

“It is not because there is one case in the workplace, or two or three cases, that there is necessarily a cluster linked to transmission in the workplace,” he said. declared.

“The definition of a cluster in a workplace is three or more cases from three different households, regardless of where they acquired it. “

Atwal said Manitoba had data to share on workplace transmission, but not in a form he described as presentable to the public.

He said the province was working to make more information about transmission in the workplace public, as well as a parallel effort to enable workplaces to bring COVID-19 infections under control.

On Thursday, a public health spokesperson said he was in the process of “finalizing the working group guidelines for employers” which includes “information on how to assess risk in the workplace” .

Public health also said it was finalizing guidelines for employers to organize the data they collect, the spokesperson added.

Social epidemiologist Souradet Shaw has said it is better late than never, 14 months after the start of the pandemic.

“I think it would have been better if we had targeted him earlier, but the fact that they are attacking each other I think is positive. I think it’s too late. “

Disclosure varies by company

There is nothing forcing employers to disclose COVID-19 infections. Some do, such as Crown corporation Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries, which proactively discloses cases in the retail stores it operates.

Other companies readily recognize infections when claims are made.

For example, the two HudBay mines in Manitoba have been affected by several cases of COVID this month: 14 in Flin Flon and two in Snow Lake.

“Some cases appear to be the result of workplace transmission,” a company spokesperson wrote. Other cases have been attributed to community spread.

Hudbay says several workers are in self-isolation and there has been no significant impact on mining.

“Our focus remains the safety of our employees, their families and our local communities,” the Hudbay spokesperson wrote.

The company has started performing rapid PCR testing for Hudbay employees at its Flin Flon health post.

Hudbay readily disclosed cases of COVID-19 among its employees at two Manitoba mines, including Flin Flon. (Hudbay Minerals)

In Winnipeg, Bockstael Construction said work at the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority’s Ellen Douglass ambulatory care clinic was recently shut down for two days as a “proactive measure” after a worker was tested. positive.

Workers at two sub-companies were sent home to self-isolate and 10 eventually tested positive.

“Bockstael took all possible precautions throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, including proactively closing our site while a deep cleanup was completed,” spokesman John Bockstael said in a statement sent. by e-mail.

Bockstael said masks are mandatory on site, several handwashing stations are available, and breaks and departure times are staggered to reduce congestion.

In other cases, there are disputes between workers and employers over the presence of infections.

Workers United Council Canada, which is trying to organize hundreds of Canada Goose employees in Winnipeg, says the company is keeping the infections a secret.

“There’s just this common theme of not being transparent, of not being particular, of not offering this health and safety information,” spokeswoman Jo Anne Pinera said in an interview.

Canada Goose has not confirmed the presence of any cases at the company. Vice President Alex Thomson said the manufacturer communicates safety information to its employees and works closely with provincial authorities.

No Manitoba Business Closed Due to COVID Concerns

Manitoba’s Chief Public Health Officer Dr Brent Roussin on Thursday said the province would use health hazard orders to shut down businesses where there are multiple cases of COVID-19 and a risk of transmission.

Roussin said it was a power the province had always had and had already been used.

A public health spokesperson said on Friday that Workplace, Health and Safety had not closed any Manitoba businesses due to the risk of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.

A new public health decree, due to go into effect on Saturday, requires companies to allow employees to work from home, where possible.

Atwal did not say whether the province would enforce the order.

“We trust the employers,” he said. “Most employers are good people and I think everyone is going to do whatever it takes to make sure they follow that order. “

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