After four people in her family were infected in a COVID-19 outbreak at her daughter’s workplace, Kate Kirkey warns people not to ignore or downplay early signs of infection and urge employers not to ask people to work once they do too show only mild symptoms.
“We’re getting by, every day is a little different,” said Kirkey. “Some days you are fine and the next day not so well. My sister is not fine, but she is still sick at home.”
Kirkey’s 16-year-old daughter, who did not name CBC News, recently started a job with Tim Hortons on Commissioners Road and Adelaide Street in south London.
As reported by CBC News last week, the Middlesex-London Health Unit said the outbreak at that location in Tims after four employees tested positive for COVID-19.
In a statement to CBC News, a spokesman for Tim Hortons said restaurant owners became aware of the first positive case on Friday, April 16, and had “worked to notify affected team members as soon as possible.”
Kirkey’s daughter was working that Friday this Tims and said she wasn’t notified until she showed up for her shift two days later on Sunday. Kirkey said her daughter was told not to come in and that she needed to be tested and self-isolated for 14 days.
Drive through now open
After unknowingly working with an infected colleague on Friday, Kirkey’s daughter dined with her mother, younger sister and aunt that night.
When Kirkey heard of the positive case at her daughter’s workplace, everyone in her family started self-isolating and made appointments to be tested for the virus. The earliest test date they could get was Tuesday April 20th. The results came back the next day. All four were positive: Kirkey, her two daughters, and her sister.
Although Kirkey’s two daughters have done well despite the infection, Kirkey said her sister was badly hit. Kirkey and her sister have both lost their senses of smell and taste, common symptoms of COVID-19.
Tims’ testimony said the restaurant was closed for cleaning and disinfection once the outbreak was confirmed. On Friday, the restaurant did not allow customers to enter, but the passage was open.
No paid sick days
The same statement states that employees who self-isolate are encouraged to apply for the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB), which provides $ 450 per week for up to four weeks for people who are unable to work because they are due to Isolate COVID yourself -19.
However, Kirkey’s daughter is not eligible for CRSB as she did not have an income of $ 5,000 in the past year.
Tim Hortons’ statement also states that a corporate fund will boost wages that are not covered by the CRSB.
Kirkey’s main reason for sharing her story is to remind people how quickly infections can spill over into the workplace to infect other people. She said her situation was a case study of the importance of isolation and testing when symptoms first appeared.
“It really affects a lot of things down the line,” she said. “You have four or five kids having it, you might look at up to eight adults, and it affects their jobs.”