Canada Post says no risk after Peterborough, Ont., workers refuse to enter building amid coronavirus concern

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Postal Workers
Postal workers in Peterborough invoked their right not to enter a work station after concerns about coronavirus. – Mar 7, 2020

More than two dozen Canada Post workers in Peterborough refused to enter their work building Friday citing health concerns possibly linked to COVID-19.

However, Canada Post says there is no health risk.

On Friday morning, 25 day-shift mail carriers invoked their right not to enter the Rye Street postal station.

READ MORE: Officials announce new cases of COVID-19 in Ontario for total of 28

An employee — who asked not to be identified — claims a manager was sent home on Wednesday after allegedly beginning to exhibit signs and symptoms of being sick. The employee says the manager had been back to work for two weeks after returning from an overseas vacation at a “hotspot” for the highly contagious virus.

The employees serve most of the region ranging east of Peterborough in Hastings, west to Lindsay and north of Haliburton. The employee says they have a “social responsibility” to protect the community.

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The employee said they requested more information from management.

In a statement to Global News, Canada Post says there is no safety risk at the facility.

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“We understand the concerns raised by employees,” the statement reads. “To ensure we are doing everything possible to keep our employees safe, we follow the guidance of the Public Health Agency of Canada.

“In this instance we followed the proper process and have informed our employees this morning that there is no safety risk.”

Global News has also reached out to the Canadian Union of Postal Workers for comment.

Upon receiving the new information, some employees returned inside the postal station while others chose to go home.

Canada Post says it will be requesting those employees to return to work.

In a statement, Peterborough Public Health says to date there have been no positive cases of COVID-19 in its jurisdiction, which includes the city, Peterborough County, Curve Lake First Nation and Hiawatha First Nation.

The health unit says it can’t comment on specific health cases, but notes COVID-19 is a reportable disease that will be followed if a health-care provider suspects a case.

READ MORE: Stockpiling in face of COVID-19 unnecessary, Ontario health minister says

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“If they test positive, we conduct contact tracing of people the case may have been in contact with,” stated the health unit. “So far there have been no local positive cases of COVID-19.”

The health unit encourages people to contact them if they think they might be infected with the new coronavirus.

“Our nurses will provide guidance to determine if testing is required, or people can call Telehealth after hours for the same care,” a statement reads. “We are following ‘persons under investigation’ as they are referred to us and have been doing so all the way along, as we do for all reportable diseases.

“If someone calls and thinks another person might have COVID-19, all we can do is ask the caller to recommend the individual in question call us so we can care for them directly.”

More to come.

Click to play video: 'Peterborough Medical Officer of Health urges residents to prepare for COVID-19'
Peterborough Medical Officer of Health urges residents to prepare for COVID-19

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