An employee of Downie Timber has tested positive for COVID-19.
Downie Timber plant manager Angus Woodman told the Mountaineer the mill was informed of the employees positive result on the evening of Monday, Nov. 23. Woodman said the individual contracted COVID-19 outside of the workplace.
Following current health guidelines, a list of staff who had been in contact with the COVID positive employee was provided to Interior Health for contact tracing purposes. Nine staff working in the planer department (not including the person who tested positive) were sent home to self-isolate and to seek further information by contacting HealthLink BC. Due to operating safety issues, the planer department shut down temporarily, but Woodman said it is now back up and running. According to Woodman, those sent home as a result of contact tracing have received differing information from HealthLink BC, with some being told to go get a COVID test, others being told they are fine to return to work and others being told to stay home longer.
“We are following the advice of the health authorities,” he said.
Woodman said over the last month an increasing number of staff are calling in due to COVID-like symptoms. He said employees are encouraged to get a COVID test prior to returning if they aren’t feeling well, and that this is the first instance of a staff member testing positive of the 40 or so who have gotten tested so far.
Downie has had COVID-19 safety protocols in place since the beginning of the pandemic, said Woodman. Masks or face shields are required on the operating floor when it isn’t possible to maintain six-feet of physical distancing, lunchroom breaks are staggered and break rooms have been rearranged to ensure chairs are six-feet apart at all times.
You can read more about Downie Timber’s COVID-19 safety protocols here.