Potential second wave. Walmart employees test positive for COVID-19

With Ontario seeing a surge in COVID-19 cases recently, London finds itself experiencing its own outbreak.

Hyde Park Walmart location in London Ontario.
Hyde Park Walmart Supercentre still open despite 4 employees testing positive for COVID-19. Sean Olegario/Toronto Observer

London, Ontario could face a second wave of COVID-19, due to an outbreak at a Walmart location.

On Sept. 17, four employees at the Hyde Park Walmart location in London tested positive for COVID-19. Employees were allegedly told by management to keep the news a secret. The Walmart location has not closed its doors to the public and is still operating.

This is the second COVID-19 occurrence this past week in London. Tbhurty-nine students at Western University have also tested positive for COVID-19.

The exployees that tested positive worked in the checkout area. The Middlesex-London Health Unit determined that customers’ exposure to the virus may have been low-risk, due to the precautions already taken by Walmart, such as the plexiglass barriers.

COVID-19 at Walmart
Hyde Park Walmart still has their doors open despite the outbreak.

Laura Catherine, a third-year student at Western University, said she was frustrated with how Walmart handled the information about their employees. She thinks keeping the news under wraps is more dangerous to the public.

“I don’t think ‘the right time’ should be taken into account when dealing with something of this matter,” she said.

“The longer the information takes to reach the public, the more customers will continue to go into the store without knowing the truth. The moment Walmart found out about their first positive case, they should have closed their doors for a deep thorough clean, the same way Superstore did.”

Catherine called the store’s actions “neglectful and shameful” and laid the blame on both Walmart and the Middlesex-London Health Unit.

Walmart told the London Free Press it had gone through a deep cleaning soon after learning about its employees. Catherine said she was doubtful of their “deep clean.”

“As someone who used to be employed by Walmart, I know their night shift stocks the shelves and does the basic sweep and mop. The Hyde park location is massive in comparison to the one I worked at so there’s no way that ‘thorough deep clean’ was done properly.”

Catherine also has family who work at the Hyde Park location. When asked if her family members would be comfortable with talking, she said, “The relatives that I have that work there won’t come forward because of the situation with Walmart telling them not to say a word.”

Dr. Alex Summers and the Middlesex-London Health Unit released a statement on Sept. 18, saying, “We have been following up directly with these individuals and continue to support not only them, but also their close contacts as we continue our investigation and take the steps necessary to reduce any further spread. We know this news may cause concern, particularly as we’ve seen an increase in local cases this week, but it also is an important reminder of the steps we can all take to prevent the spread of COVID-19. We all have to do our part.”

For more COVID-19 news, and potential second wave updates, see the Toronto Observer COVID-19 archives.

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Posted: Sep 21 2020 2:25 am
Filed under: News