Security officer on Parliament Hill tests positive for coronavirus

Parliament Hill in Ottawa.
Parliament Hill in Ottawa. Nick Westoll / File / Global News

A member of the Parliamentary Protective Service (PPS) — which works to safeguard Parliament Hill — has tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

According to a Human Resources email sent to all Senate staff obtained by Global News, the individual notified the PPS they had tested positive for COVID-19 on Sept 10.

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The email suggests the individual worked on the main floor of the Victoria Building on Aug. 31 and Sept. 1, and began feeling symptoms the next day.

On Sept. 3, the employee was tested for the respiratory virus.

However, on Sept. 8, the individual attended work and visited a number of locations, including the vehicle screening facility, the men’s locker room, elevators, a break room and the visitor welcome centre.

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According to the email, the Senate had no prior knowledge of the situation before Sept. 10.

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The email said no senators or Senate staff had any direct contact with the infected person, but that contact tracing has identified 19 people who had come into contact with the individual.

Ottawa Public Health said the contact risk for those 19 individuals is low and that they have all been notified, the email said.
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Steps are being taken to disinfect the affected areas, and the individual is now self-isolating, the email read.

In an email to Global News, a spokesperson from the PPS said the service directs employees to stay home if they are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, and to contact local health authorities for testing.

“Service employees who have symptoms, who are seeking testing and/or are awaiting test results are required to advise their manager or supervisor,” the email said. “The Service does not schedule any employees who report symptoms, who are seeking testing or who are awaiting test results.”

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“This is a critical part of our protocol.”

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The PPS said as soon as it learned of the positive test, it “rapidly activated” COVID-19 protocols.

“We contacted our parliamentary partners as well as any individuals who may have come into contact with the employee,” the email read.

“We continue to liaise with our parliamentary partners and remain in close contact with public health, participating fully in a review of the situation.”

Global News reached out to the Prime Minister’s Office for comment but did not hear back by time of publication.

–With files from Global News’ Mike Le Couteur