Amherst Island ferry dock construction employee tests positive for COVID-19

Amherst Island ferry dock construction. Photo via Loyalist Township

Loyalist Township has confirmed that on Wednesday, June 24, 2020, they were notified that an individual working for the contractor responsible for the construction of the Amherst Island Ferry Dock tested positive for COVID-19.

Other employees and others in the immediate work area have also been tested, with results pending.

“To protect the health of the public and prevent community spread, KFL&A Public Health is investigating and following up with close contacts.  For the safety of the public, Ferry crew and dock construction personnel, the Amherst Island Ferry Dock construction project has been halted until further notice,” said Trevor Cornelius, Coordinator of Communications & New Initiatives for Loyalist Township in a press release.

“This reinforces the reality of COVID-19 in our community and I urge individuals to do everything they can to prevent its spread. Please remember to be vigilant by practising physical distancing, washing your hands frequently, staying at home when you are sick, and getting tested if you are experiencing symptoms,” stated Medical Officer of Health of KFL&A Public Health, Dr. Kieran Moore.

Loyalist Township staff say they are working closely with KFL&A Public Health, the Ministry of Transportation, and the General Contractor, Rankin Construction, regarding the situation.

Since the declaration of a local state of emergency, Loyalist Township says it has taken a number of steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19 including the suspension of fare collection aboard the Amherst Island Ferry,  the closure of public washrooms aboard the ferry, measures that promote physical distancing and the requirement of non-medical masks or face coverings for walk-on passengers aboard the ferry if physical distancing can not be maintained.

Additionally, the contractor responsible for the construction of the dock project continues to implement measures such daily screening for all employees and visitors to the job site.  As a precaution, employees that worked in close contact with the individual that tested positive will be required to self-isolate for 14 days. All other workers on the site will not be able to return to the worksite until they can provide proof of a negative test. 

“It is important to note, while we have been afforded greater freedoms by moving to stage 2 of the Framework for Reopening the Province, it is critical that we remain vigilant by continuing to practice proper physical distancing and infection prevention and control measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” said Cornelius in the release.

“While we recognize that having a case in our community causes anxiety and concern, we have great confidence in the multi-pronged public health  strategy of case investigation and contact tracing for identifying and mitigating cases of COVID-19,” stated Loyalist Township Mayor, Ric Bresee.

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