Dufferin News East Garafraxa Municipal Politics

East Garafraxa Public Works Staff ‘Workplace Isolating’

East Garafraxa Public Works Staff 'Workplace Isolating' After Exposure to COVID-19

On December 8, 2020, East Garafraxa Township notified the public that the Administration office and the Public Works Yard will be closed until further notice due to COVID-19.

Later that day, at a meeting of council for the Town of Mono, CAO Mark Early shared some additional news pertaining to the situation.

“The offices and the roads crew are all isolating at East Garafraxa until December 16th.”

Early also said that he expects nearby municipalities will be required to provide ‘mutual aid’ to make sure East Garafraxa’s roads are serviced in the meantime.

“I am sure their office staff are fine working from home, but it’s going to become very difficult for East Gary to maintain roads and services if the health unit is requiring them to be isolated until December 16th.”

On December 9th, Dufferin News contacted Susan Stone, CAO for the Township of East Garafraxa, to obtain more details. The following answer was rendered.

“East Garafraxa Public Works Department is still providing required services and will be clearing roads. The administration offices are open, though currently closed to the public, but staff are working and providing Township services via email and phone.”

Dufferin News asked Stone to clarify the comments made by Mono’s CAO.

“The Administration staff are not isolating, though we have closed to the public until further notice. The Public Works Department are all isolating until December 16, 2020; however, as the municipality employees are deemed “essential workers”, they will be “workplace isolating” so therefore working and clearing the roads, patrolling, etc. as long as they are well and showing no symptoms, taking necessary precautions and practicing Covid measures, and are working in isolation of each other and others.”

‘Workplace isolation’ after being exposed to COVID-19 has taken place in the Ontario healthcare sector, and it was discovered back in August that something similar may occur with teachers in public education. Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health has since told Dufferin News that if they determine that a teacher has had a ‘high-risk exposure’ the teacher can not return to the classroom until tested and having isolated for 14 days.

Ontario Public Health gives the following recommendations to healthcare workers who are ‘workplace isolating’:

  • Take your temperature twice a day to monitor for fever.
  • Travel to and from work in your private vehicle. If you have to take transit, wear a surgical/procedure mask and perform hand hygiene before and after your travel to work.
  • During work, for the 14-day period, wear surgical/procedure mask and any additional Personal Protective Equipment, based on Routine Practices and Additional Precautions.
  • Do not eat your meals in a shared space (e.g., conference room, lunch room) with other healthcare workers.
  • Work in only one facility where possible.
  • Self-isolate when outside of the workplace.

Dufferin News has reached out to Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health for more details on the practice of ‘workplace isolation’ and will provide more information as it becomes available.

East Garafraxa CAO Susan Stone advised that the Township would distribute updated reports to the public through their website and social media channels.

References – East Garafraxa Public Works Staff ‘Workplace Isolating’

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