Township investigating role staff may have played in spread of COVID-19

The Township of Brock is investigating the role its staff may have played during the recent increase in COVID-19 cases locally.

Mayor John Grant issued a formal statement Thursday (April 15) noting that four members of staff – three firefighters and one works department employee – helped someone in the community move into a new home over the “Easter week.”

While the four employees have tested negative for COVID-19, the statement notes that at least four other people who attended the residence have tested positive in the days since.

For much of that week, Durham Region was in the provincial government’s ‘Red – Control Zone,’ which limited indoor gatherings to five people.

A provincial shutdown that prohibited indoor organized events and social gatherings came into effect on the Saturday of that weekend (April 3).

“As Mayor, I am disappointed that members of our staff exercised such poor judgement as most of these individuals are first responders and understand the seriousness of the situation. Further investigation into the matter will continue and disciplinary measures will be considered and implemented once this has been completed. We will respect the privacy of those involved as is required by law,” the statement reads.

“To the residents, I apologize for this incident and I am embarrassed to hear this type of thing would even happen given everything everyone knows about the seriousness of this pandemic.”

The statement was released following a concerning increase in COVID-19 cases in the township.

Of the 94 cases reported in Brock as of April 15, two dozen had been confirmed since the start of the month – a figure that represents more than 25 percent of the total. In the past two weeks, three cases have been reported at Stonemoor Daycare Centre in Cannington and four at Beaverton Public School.

Twenty-one are currently active in the municipality. Nineteen people are in home isolation, with two hospitalized (one in intensive care).

While the statement from Mayor Grant notes that public health will continue the “investigative process of contact tracing,” the Durham Region Health Department said that it was “not aware of a recent social event in Brock that would be linked to increased transmission of COVID-19 within the community.”

Surprisingly, that did not change following the release of Mayor Grant’s statement.

“The health department has no further information to add to our previous response and urges anyone who is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms to get tested. The health department also encourages everyone to follow the provincial stay at home order and all public health measures and guidance which includes avoiding social gatherings, staying home as much as possible, avoiding any non-essential travel and, where possible, work remotely.”

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