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Coronavirus: Beware workplace, family spread, new Ottawa Public Health case study warns

This latest COVID-19 case study from Ottawa Public Health shows the risks of improper mask use in the workplace and gathering with family. Ottawa Public Health / Twitter

The latest case study documenting coronavirus transmission in Ottawa shows the risks of lowering one’s guard in the workplace and when interacting with other households.

Ottawa Public Health tweeted a real-world contact tracing example Friday morning, as the heath unit has done previously, to show how COVID-19 spread through organized sports, weddings and outdoor social events, this time depicting virus transmission from one confirmed case in a few seemingly innocuous settings.

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Before showing symptoms, this individual went to work where inconsistent mask use and physical distancing, coupled with some team members sharing a meal together, resulted in six employees testing positive for the virus and 18 more co-workers forced to self-isolate due to their high risk of exposure.

Two additional cases were linked to this workplace outbreak after one of the employees who tested positive brought the case into their home; other household members of the positive cases also had to self-isolate.

The original person who tested positive then developed minor symptoms but still attended a family gathering, where four households came together.

Six additional people tested positive as a result of this gathering and three other high-risk contacts were created.

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Finally, the original person had a friend over to their home. That contact then tested positive for the virus as well and exposed the other five members of their household.

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Within two weeks’ time, the original case had become 15 with 40 high-risk contacts.

“We’re naturally more relaxed around people we’re close to, but this cluster is a reminder that COVID doesn’t care how well we know someone. Whether around coworkers we’ve known for years, friends or family members, we must remain vigilant,” OPH said in the tweet.

The local health unit also added one addendum to the case study: don’t gather with four households.

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