Public Health gives further guidance on food industry COVID-19 testing

KFL&A Public Health.

Following its memo distributed on Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2020 to food premises operators requesting that all KFL&A restaurant workers be tested for COVID-19, KFL&A Public Health today provided further information and guidance to food premises operators and associated businesses.

In addition to the previous dates and times set aside for the requested testing, KFL&A says that COVID-19 testing has also been extended to Friday, November 27 for asymptomatic restaurant workers, and has been made available at several locations.

Testing can be done at the COVID-19 Assessment Centre at Beechgrove Complex in Kingston or Lennox & Addington Assessment Centre at Lennox & Addington County General Hospital Westdale Campus in Greater Napanee. In the event that a restaurant worker is a Queen’s University student, they have the additional option to get tested at the Queen’s Assessment Centre.

KFL&A Public Health further recommended that all food delivery service workers also get tested. This would include in-house food delivery workers as well as independent delivery drivers such as those working with Skip The Dishes, DoorDash, and UberEats.

KFL&A Public Health also clarified that the testing, which is being requested due to 15 recent COVID-19 cases associated with Kingston fast food locations, is recommended but not mandatory.

“Out of an abundance of caution, we recommend restaurant staff get tested…however, it is not mandatory. It is not the responsibility of the restaurant owner or manager to arrange for testing of their staff. We are requesting that staff be advised that KFL&A Public Health recommends a test when they can do so,” said KFL&A Public Health. “The risk to the public is very low, no customers have been linked to these cases.”

KFL&A Public Health also confirmed that restaurant workers that are asymptomatic at the time of the test are not required to isolate while awaiting results, and only symptomatic restaurant workers at the time of the test must self-isolate.

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