Shell employees clear after virus scare

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Alex Kurial
Local Journalism Initiative

Shell Canada says none of their employees developed COVID-19 symptoms after a contract worker tested positive for the deadly virus.

The worker was on site at the centre between March 11 and 13, though he did not show symptoms and there is not confirmation as to when he tested positive. The man was visiting from outside the province.

The company informed the workers who had been in contact with the man and asked them to self monitor for any COVID-19 symptoms.

“Based on the Government of Canada Public Health Management, we have taken all necessary actions to keep our people safe. This included notifying employees who may have worked with this individual and asking them to self-monitor for symptoms,” said Tara Lemay, media manager for Shell Canada.

Shell did not contact the Lambton County Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Sudit Ranade, upon learning of the test result.
He adds if Shell had called first, public health would have worked with its partners out-of-province to track down if the worker had actually tested positive, when and other details which could have been used to decide whether employees at Shell should have gone home to self-isolate for 14 days.

Ontario Health is currently investigating the case.

Lemay says Shell used guidelines from the Public Health Agency of Canada in determining its response. “Because the individual was not symptomatic at site, the PHAC risk assessment is low or no risk with no monitoring or action required. So we asked our Shell Sarnia employees to self-monitor out of caution,” says Lemay.

As of the end of the self-monitoring period on March 27, there were no positive cases of COVID-19 connected to anyone working at the manufacturing centre.