7 confirmed cases of COVID-19 at Zehrs grocery store in Woodstock
WOODSTOCK, ONT. -- It's a reminder not to let your guard down in the workplace after seven cases of COVID-19 were confirmed at the Zehrs grocery store in Woodstock.
The medical officer of health for Southwestern Public Health (SWPH), Dr. Joyce Lock, says it’s far too easy to get comfortable with people you work closely with, and forget basic social distancing protocols.
“If you’re in a breakroom stay six feet apart and keep your mask on unless you are eating...You really shouldn’t be chatting too much with anybody close or nearby when you’re eating.”
Meanwhile at the store on Wednesday it looked like business as usual, but the COVID-19 outbreak was never far from mind for some customers like couple Daryl and Laura, who did not wish to give their last name.
“Are they in the office?” asked Laura. “Did they work in the back? Like what contact did they have? ‘Cause there’s so many employees. Are they all night shift?... If they were like the self-checkout cashiers...that’s way more public.”
According to parent company Loblaw, the last day any affected employee was in the store was Nov. 26. In an email to CTV News, Loblaw Public Relations said it has asked a dozen staff members to stay home.
It went on to say it has “implemented additional measures, including enhanced cleaning, to ensure the safety and well-being of everyone in the store. We have also worked closely with local public health who have confirmed there is no additional risk to customers at this time.”
Neither the company nor SWPH would talk about exactly how the virus entered the store and spread among staff, citing privacy concerns.
Lock did say it’s important to remember that when we work with others “we’re actually interacting with a whole bunch of bubbles from a lot of other families. So that means we can actually send the infection home with our colleagues and then it enters into their families, into their workplaces, and before we know it we’ve got a fair bit of spread through our community.”
SWPH, which includes Woodstock and all of Elgin and Oxford counties, remains in the orange-restrict tier of the province’s COVID-19 response framework.
“It seems like we’re getting more cases in the area,” said Laura. “So at some point we might just be totally at home, right, and you have to order online for everything. But now it’s like we’re still going to go about life semi, as best we can.”