30 Ontario Paramedic Employees Test Positive For COVID-19 After Off-Duty Social Gathering

93 patients have been identified as close contacts.

Toronto Staff Writer
30 Ontario Paramedic Employees Test Positive For COVID-19 After Off-Duty Social Gathering

The Ottawa Paramedic Service has 30 cases of COVID-19 amongst their staff after an "off duty social gathering" on December 15.

A staff member developed COVID-19 symptoms within 48 hours after the gathering and tested positive for COVID-19 on December 18, according to a memo sent to the mayor and city council members from Paramedic Chief Pierre Poirier on December 21.

All staff members who attended the event were directed to get tested for COVID-19 following the staff member's positive result, and as of December 21, 30 members of the service had tested positive.

According to the memo, "93 patients have been identified as close contacts" to asymptotic staff who had yet to test positive for COVID-19 and were still working.

The Ottawa Citizen reports that 130 staff members attended the event, which reportedly took place in a restaurant. All attendees have also been deemed "high-risk contacts" following the event.

Due to personal protective equipment and strict infection control protocols, the "risk of exposure is considered low to moderate" for the exposed patients, according to the memo from Poirier.

"Any staff person that is a high-risk contact may return to work on work self-isolation if they remain asymptomatic and if they complete the prescribed testing and are negative on all tests," said Poirer in a separate statement, according to the Ottawa Citizen.

The Ottawa Paramedic Service is working with Ottawa Public Health and has already put "enhanced infection control measures" in place, and "all individuals who were at the establishment, and all high-risk contacts," have been contacted by Ottawa Public Health.

Service levels have not been impacted due to the outbreak yet, but they are continuing to "closely monitor operations as the situation evolves and will institute further contingency plans if required," according to the memo.

Stronger gathering restrictions were implemented across Ontario on December 19 in response to the Omicron variant, including capacity limits and new rules for restaurants and other establishments.

Under the new restrictions, social gatherings are capped off at 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors.

This article’s cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.

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