Alberta Health declares COVID-19 outbreak at Amazon warehouse north of Calgary
Dr. Hinshaw announced a COVID-19 outbreak at the Amazon Fulfillment Centre in Balzac, Alta. on May 1, 2020.
CALGARY -- Health officials say five workers tested positive for COVID-19 at a warehouse facility north of Calgary that handles orders for the online marketplace Amazon.
Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta's chief medical officer of health, announced details of the outbreak during her daily update Friday.
"It is not yet clear if all five are linked with a common exposure. We have just received this outbreak confirmation, so it will not be reflected on our website today."
She says measures have already been put in place to protect workers at the business and additional recommendations have also been made for employers to implement.
The investigation into the outbreak is still ongoing, she adds.
"The investigation entails looking at those cases, looking at when they became sick. And if there is some kind of a common exposure or risk factor, that's still underway. That information will help to pinpoint if there are any other specific risks that need to be addressed or mitigated."
While the fulfillment centre is a different work environment than something like Cargill Protein, where there are more than 900 cases of illness confirmed in workers, some of the same measures are in place.
"Anyone who's a close contact would be kept away from others for 14 days. They would be asked to self-isolate at home for that period of time," Hinshaw said. "All of those things are happening at the Amazon fulfillment centre and that investigation and outbreak management will continue at that location with support from public health over the coming weeks."
Two cases have also been discovered at Alpha House in Calgary, a facility that provides a safe living environment for those with substance abuse issues.
"I want to commend the front line public health professionals and their partners who are responding to all outbreaks across the province," Hinshaw said. "They are working quickly to contain the spread, providing public health guidance to employers and operators, testing anyone who may have been exposed and supporting those who have become ill."
Three more deaths from coronavirus
Hinshaw added three more patients who had confirmed cases of COVID-19 have died from complications in connection with the illness.
"This brings the total number of lives lost to 92," she said. "All three deaths were in continuing care centres experiencing outbreaks, which is a reminder of why we need to be vigilant to protect this population."
With an additional 218 cases of COVID-19 reported in the past 24 hours, there are now 5,573 cases of the illness in Alberta. Of these, 2,359 people have recovered from their symptoms.