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NWHU declares COVID-19 outbreak at Dryden restaurant

The outbreak comes after the Northwestern Health Unit implemented new instructions for workplaces to curb workplace outbreaks.

DRYDEN, Ont. - The Northwestern Health Unit has declared a workplace outbreak of COVID-19 at a restaurant in the Dryden area.

The outbreak is at the KFC and the NWHU says there is no additional risk to customers of the restaurant.

Case contact management is underway and anyone who is considered a close contact has been contacted and instructed to self-isolate.

Northwestern Health Unit medical officer of health Dr. Kit Young Hoon has said growing case numbers in the region are due in large part to workplace outbreaks and people not self-isolating when exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19.

“We have seen an increase in the number of workplace-related COVID-19 cases and outbreaks in our area over the past few weeks,” she said. “Upon investigation, we have learned that some individuals are attending work with symptoms of COVID-19.”

In an effort to curb these workplace outbreaks, the NWHU has issued instructions for workplaces under the Reopening Ontario Act.

The instructions detail requirements for owners and operators of workplaces to follow including employee screening, adhering to all public health guidelines, and excluding anyone who has COVID-19 or even one symptom from the workplace.

“In addition to the Instructions, to protect the safety of staff and patrons in local workplaces, NWHU will issue fines to workplaces that allow employees to attend work while symptomatic or while they should be self-isolating,” Young Hoon said.

Young Hoon added that most workplaces have taken preventative measures, but those that have not are putting more people at risk.

“Unfortunately workplaces not following public health recommendations are contributing to increasing COVID-19 rates in the region. Increasing rates can lengthen the time that current public health restrictions are applied,” she said.

Workplaces are also encouraged to support workers who must self-isolate if they are a high-risk contact or have contracted COVID-19.

“When employees are supported, it reduces the chance of COVID-19 spreading in your workplace and increases the likelihood that your workplace can remain open. It is a good investment,” Young Hoon said.  

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