By VIctoria Gray
Brantford has announced two new COVID-19 community outbreaks and Haldimand-Norfolk has one at Simcoe Composite School.
The City announced Brantford Transit employees and and staff members at Brant Food Centre tested positive for COVID-19 and declared outbreaks on April 14.
Brant County Health Unit (BCHU) declared a workplace outbreak at the Brantford Transit terminal after four employees tested positive for COVID-19.
A workplace outbreak is declared when there are two or more laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases with an link to the workplace within a 14-day period, where people could have gotten sick in the workplace.
BCHU employees believe those who use the transit system would have a low-risk of getting COVID-19 from this outbreak. Public Health also believes Brantford Transit is adhering to cleaning protocols ensuring each vehicle is thoroughly cleaned every night after service. Brantford transit is using a disinfectant to clean that is on the approved list for use to disinfect for COVID-19 by Health Canada. Brantford Transit’s enhanced cleaning protocol focuses on disinfecting frequently on surfaces that are touches often like, fare collection machines, handrails, and other high touch points.
The employees who have tested positive for COVID-19 are to self-isolate for 10 more days. All others who were listed as close contacts were notified and are currently self-isolating for 14 days.
“The City of Brantford takes the health and safety of the public we serve and our employees very seriously and upon learning of each case, any related vehicles in use by Brantford Transit employees who tested positive were immediately pulled out of service, parked for 24 hours, and fogged with disinfectant,” a press release said.
The Brantford Transit Terminal will stay open as approved by he BCHU. Brantford Transit is asking any transit rider who was at the Brantford Transit Terminal between April 6th and April 12th who is concerned about possible exposure or is having symptoms related to COVID-19, to contact the Brant Community Healthcare System for assessment and testing.
Transit services will be modified to protect health and safety. City officials remind transit riders that there is a province wide stay-at-home order in effect and transit should only be used for essential travel.
Beginning Monday April 19th Brantford Transit will operate on an hourly service schedule seven days per week as long as there are drivers available. The press release said this move in consistent with last year’s stay-at-home order and is to protect the halth ans safety of the public and employees.
Changes include morning rush house service form 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. Monday to Saturday service will start at 8 a.m. and run hourly until 8 p.m. and in the evening hourly until 1 a.m. There are no changes to Sunday service, which will continue to run hourly from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
There is a limit of 15 passengers on the bus with extra shuttled available, if needed.
A dedicated shuttle bus will support the North West Industrial Area (NWIA) leaving the terminal on the half hour from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., Monday to Saturday. Route 8 will also service the NWIA once an hour leaving the terminal on the hour Monday to Saturday.
These changes will continue until further notice.
There are no changes to Brantford Lift services.
The BCHU also declared a COVID-19 outbreak at Brant Food Centre at 94 Grey St. in Brantford when two employees tested positive for COVID-19.
Those who tested positive for COVID-19 have been told to self-isolate for 10 days.
The BCHU has said an investigation suggests customers have a low-risk for getting COVID-19. That said, anyone who was at the grocery store between March 22 to 27, March 30, April 1 and April 3 to 5 who is concerned about exposure or is having symptoms related to COVID-19 at either the grocery store or the transit system, can contact the Brant Community Healthcare System for assessment and testing at https://www.bchsys.org/en/covid-19-online-scheduling.aspx.
The store is staying open. Any high-risk, close contacts to the affected cases identified by BCHU are currently self-isolating.
On April 15, the Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit declared a COVID-19 outbreak at Simcoe Composite School.
The first case was identified on April 13 and a second tested positive on April 15.
The Ministry of Education’s Operational Guidance states, an outbreak is twoor more lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases in students and/or staff in a school with an
epidemiological link, within a 14-day period, where at least one case could have gotten their infection in the school.
For privacy reasons the GEDSB will not disclose the identity of these COVID-19 cases.
The people were told to Self-isolate by the health unit as well as any family members who live with them.
The health unit has contacted those identified as close contacts of the first case, but no one was affected by the latest case due to the province-wide school closure.
The health unit is working closely with those in self-isolation and talking about next steps, including confirmation of their isolation period.
A close contact includes any students or staff in the impacted cohort(s), but may also include others. GEDSB has given the health unit with class lists, transportation records and child care information.
All GEDSB schools and schools across the province are closing for an undisclosed amount of time after the spring break and all students will move to virtual learning. Custodians will continue to disinfect schools.
Brantford is experiencing a surge of COVID-19 with 202 positive cases identified from April 14 to April 16. There are currently 288 active cases in the community bringing the total number of cases since the beginning of the pandemic to 2,292. There are 10 people in the hospital and there have been 14 deaths.
Haldimand-Norfolk is not trailing far behind with 210 active COVID-19 cases with 72 reported last week. The total number of cases since the beginning of the pandemic sits at 1,915 and there have been 40 deaths.