About 150 attendees of Chatham-Kent blood donor clinic isolating after possible COVID-19 exposure

·2 min read

Kelly Young is one of an estimated 150 people told to self-isolate or get tested for COVID-19 after a possible exposure at a blood donor clinic in Chatham-Kent.

A spokesperson for Canadian Blood Services told CBC News in an emailed statement that on Oct. 20 a person who tested positive for COVID-19 attended the organization's mobile donor event at Chatham-Kent's YMCA located at 101 Courthouse Ln. As a result, the organization cancelled all scheduled collection events over the weekend in Chatham-Kent and Windsor as the incident continues to be investigated with public health.

Public health says Canadian Blood Services kept good records of those who attended the mobile clinic, making it easy to perform contact tracing.

Young said she first received an email from Chatham-Kent Public Health on Friday notifying her of the exposure. The email said she should "self-isolate at home immediately" until Nov. 3, monitor for symptoms and schedule a test.

Due to the large number of people who attended the event, the health unit's email continued to say that it would start individually reaching out to each person on Saturday.

After seeing the email, Young said she immediately booked an appointment to get a test and scheduled it for this week.

Young said she has also received an email from Canadian Blood Services confirming the case and advising on next steps.

In an email to CBC, a spokesperson for the Canadian Blood Services said the organization has been following all of the appropriate safety protocols.

"We want to reassure the public that the safety or our donors, staff and volunteers is a priority and Canadian Blood Services has robust safety measures in place at our facilities and collection events across the country, including mandatory masks, additional PPE, enhanced cleaning, wellness checkpoints and physical distancing to safeguard our teams, donors and operations," the email reads.

It continued to say that they ask anyone coming to donate to monitor their health and stay home if they have COVID-19 symptoms.

"I feel fine, and am grateful for the notices I was given," Young wrote in an email to CBC. "Any inconvenience I might currently experience through the isolation order is minor when compared to the possible impact I could have should I be positive and pass it on to others."

Series of exposures in Chatham-Kent

This is one of many exposures the community is dealing with in recent weeks.

The region went from having zero active cases on Oct. 16, to 26 as of Monday. Of these cases, three have been linked to the Chatham-Kent school community and others are from a community outbreak at Blenheim's Word of Life Church.

On Friday, Chatham-Kent's medical officer of health Dr. David Colby told CBC News he was considering a $5,000 per day fine for people who go to school or work with COVID-19 symptoms.