Toronto Public Health has reported 10 outbreaks of COVID-19 at construction or construction-linked workplaces in the city between May 2 and May 6.
In other workplace summaries, in the past week Peel Public Health and Toronto Public Health reported a total of two partial or full workplace closures as part of the Section 22 Class Order powers implemented to stop the transmission of COVID.
In one Toronto case, however, a construction employer disputed the determination that its jobsite had been partially closed. Toronto Public Health reported that on May 4 a worksite at 219 Dundas St. E. in Toronto with employer 219 Dundas Developments Inc. had been partially closed and that subcontractor 4 Star Drywall was fully shut down.
The site is being developed by Menkes. The firm’s communications manager Jamie Okorofsky stated, “The site was not shut down. Some of our contractors (who work on our site and others) tested positive and are therefore required to quarantine. We continue to follow and enforce strict safety measures including temperature checks and thorough sanitization of common areas on site.
“As always we will follow the lead of Public Health.”
A separate Toronto Public Health report indicated there had been 11 cases of COVID reported at the site on May 3, with 4 Star Drywall identified as the subcontractor.
The Peel Region site reported closed was Aluma Systems, a forming and shoring firm based in Bolton, with a full closure April 30.
The nine other Toronto construction or construction-related workplaces that were reported to be in the midst of active COVID-19 outbreak or that had outbreaks that were declared over within the past week, as of May 6, were as follows:
- Belyea Brothers (HVAC), outbreak declared May 4, seven cases.
- Crosslinx, May 3, six cases.
- Crosslinx, May 4, three cases.
- EllisDon, May 5, four cases.
- Flexmaster Canada (HVAC supply), May 2, 11 cases.
- Foundation Building Materials, May 4, seven cases.
- Inflector Environmental Services, May 3, three cases.
- LIUNA Local 506, May 5, seven cases.
- Wilkinson Construction Services, May 2, four cases.
Hamilton Public Health reported the following COVID outbreaks at construction or construction-related worksites in the city since April 29:
- Lexsan Electrical (based in Oakville), Woodword Avenue Wastewater Treatment Plant, reported April 29, four cases.
- Urban Solutions development jobsite, 154 Main St. E., May 6, four cases.
Meanwhile, the provincial government, in partnership with the federal government and the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, has launched the COVID-19 Rapid Screening Initiative for small and medium-sized businesses across the province.
The plan will provide free rapid antigen tests for the employees through participating local chambers of commerce and other organizations. The program will screen for asymptomatic cases of COVID-19 in the workplace.
The plan follows a similar program for large workplaces that was launched in March. Statistics released recently indicated that 20,000 tests are being given at construction worksites per week, 14,000 of them at EllisDon sites.
More than 760,000 rapid test kits have been shipped to 28 chambers as part of the latest initiative and more than 50 others have expressed interest in participating, stated a government release.
“The rollout of the COVID-19 Rapid Screening Initiative through local chambers of commerce will make rapid tests accessible for more employees of small and medium-sized businesses,” said Associate Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction Prabmeet Sarkaria in a statement. “This initiative is providing Ontario’s hardworking business owners with more tools to prevent outbreaks and will ensure their employees can stay on the job with the best protection possible.”
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