Walmart Canada confirms an employee with the Salmon Arm store tested positive for the COVID-19 virus, and that other staff in close contact with the employee were directed to self-isolate. (Lachlan Labere-Salmon Arm Observer)

Salmon Arm Walmart employee tests positive for COVID-19

Company says other employees in close, prolonged contact directed to self-isolate

An employee with the Salmon Arm Walmart is currently in self-isolation after testing positive for COVID-19.

Walmart Canada corporate affairs director Adam Grachnik confirmed an associate employed at the store had contracted the virus. The employee’s last day of work was Friday, April 24.

“We are in contact with the associate and are keeping them in our thoughts,” writes Grachnik in an email to the Observer. “Everyone at Walmart wishes them a speedy recovery.”

Grachnik explained Walmart employees identified as being in close, prolonged contact were directed to self-isolate, and that the company has been in contact with the public health authority. He said “regular enhanced cleaning” continues in the store, and other social distancing measures are in place.

“Rest assured, we will continue to take measures necessary to ensure the well-being of our customers and associates,” said Grachnik.

The Salmon Arm store remains open for business.

Read more: Police seize 1,500 fake COVID-19 tests being sold in B.C.

Read more: Canadian Costco shoppers not required to wear face masks like in the U.S.

In response to COVID-19, the federal and provincial governments both provide guidelines for employers to ensure employee and public safety.

And when a commicable disease has occurred in a workplace, Interior Health has its own process of “contact tracing” that comes into effect.

“Through contact tracing, information about each individual who is confirmed positive with COVID-19 is collected,” explained the health authority in an email to the Observer. “This includes pertinent information about any close contacts, and considering if there was a possibility of public exposures in the individual’s recent interactions.

“As follow up, public health staff communicate with each of the individual’s identified contacts to ensure they understand the need to monitor for symptoms and to isolate for the incubation period, which is 14 days after their exposure. If the contact is symptomatic, the Communicable Disease Unit will arrange for them to be tested for COVID-19 and/or direct them to isolate for a specific duration and until symptom resolution.”

A media release is issued with information about monitoring for symptoms if an individual who is positive for COVID-19 attended a public place during their period of communicability and IH is not able to gather detailed contact information fo those who may have been exposed.

“Both symptomatic and asymptomatic contacts of individuals who are confirmed to have COVID-19 are monitored by Interior Health until their isolation has been completed.

“Interior Health noted contact tracing is almost exclusively completed by phone to mitigate the challenges posed by our vast geography and because it is easiest for clients to be able to stay in touch.”

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