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BC Ferries worker tests positive for COVID-19

BC Ferries did not disclose where the employee worked or on which route.
BC Ferries says one of its workers has tested positive for COVID-19. It has not said where the employee was working or on which route. Photo by Darren Stone/Times Colonist

A BC Ferries employee has tested positive for COVID-19, according to the ferry service.

Public health officials completed contract tracing with anyone who possibly came in contact with the employee and determined that there were no re-transmissions to other employees or members of the public, said BC Ferries spokeswoman Deborah Marshall. Marshall did not disclose where the employee worked or on which route.

Graeme Johnston, president of the BC Ferry and Marine Workers’ Union, said in a statement that the union is aware of the potential COVID-19 exposure aboard BC Ferries.

“BC Ferries and the health authority are working to ensure any possible exposure is traced and isolated,” he said. “We will be keeping close watch on this matter, and wish any involved swift and complete recovery.”

In March, at least one BC Ferries employee tested positive for the virus.

As of Monday, masks were required for passengers and staff at all BC Ferries terminals and aboard all vessels. Passengers don’t have to wear masks if they are in a vehicle or when they are consuming food or drinks, as long as they are two metres away from others. The rule does not apply to children younger than two, people with underlying medical conditions or a disability that prohibits mask wearing, and people unable to remove their mask without assistance.

BC Ferries has also implemented additional cleaning between sailings, screens passengers at ticket booths and requires physical distancing in terminals and on board vessels.

Several Greater Victoria businesses have closed temporarily in the past two weeks after employees tested positive for COVID-19. Between Friday and Saturday, B.C. recorded its highest number of one-day COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic, with 109 people testing positive.

On Tuesday, Island Health issued alerts about two businesses in Sidney after staff members tested positive for COVID-19: Mary’s Bleue Moon Cafe, and 10 Acres Cafe & Market.

On its Facebook page, Mary’s Bleue Moon Cafe, located at 9535 Canora Rd., said it was closed Tuesday and had scheduled “deep cleaning and disinfecting.” Anyone who was at the restaurant on Aug. 21 between 4 and 9:15 p.m. or on Aug. 22 between 9:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. or 5 and 10 p.m. is asked to monitor themselves for symptoms.

The infected 10 Acres staff member worked Aug. 20 and 21 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Management said on the restaurant’s Facebook page that there is no crossover between the Sidney location, which is at 9805 Seaport Pl., and the restaurant’s downtown locations, The Commons & 10 Acres Bistro. The cafe and 10 Acres at The Pier restaurant will be closed until at least Wednesday for sanitization.

The risk of exposure is low but anyone at these locations at the specified times is asked to monitor for symptoms. Symptoms may include: fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, runny nose, loss of taste or smell, headache, fatigue, diarrhea, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, and muscle aches. There is no need to self-isolate unless you develop symptoms.

There is no known risk to anyone who visited the cafes outside the specified dates and times.

Twist Salon, located at the Bear Mountain Resort in Langford, also shut its doors after one of its stylists tested positive for COVID-19, after being in close contact with another person with the virus. According to a social media post, the salon will be closed until the second week of September as a precautionary measure.

On Friday, Chatters Salon Victoria Westshore announced it would be closing over the weekend after a stylist tested positive for COVID-19. The salon said the stylist hadn’t worked since Aug. 17 and that anyone potentially exposed would be contacted by the health authority.

Milestones Grill and Bar in the Inner Harbour has closed for a deep clean after an employee tested positive on Aug. 20. The restaurant plans to reopen on Aug. 30.

On Aug. 14, 7-Eleven on Douglas Street closed its doors after an employee tested positive for the virus. The company asked anyone who visited the store between Aug. 10 and Aug. 14 to call the provincial COVID-19 health line at 811. The store reopened on Aug. 17.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said public health teams are tracing and identifying close contacts of people who have tested positive for COVID-19 and providing clear direction on what to do. Advisories are posted by health authorities only when contact tracers can’t find everyone possible exposed to a person with COVID-19.

— With files from Cindy E. Harnett

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