COVID-19 positive Canada Post worker dies as Mississauga facility fights outbreak

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COVID-19 positive Canada Post worker dies as Mississauga facility fights outbreak

A Canada Post worker who contracted COVID-19 amid a major outbreak at a Mississauga, Ont., facility has died, the company announced Wednesday, as the union representing postal workers demanded its members be kept safe.

Canada Post said the individual had tested positive for the virus and last worked at the Gateway facility on Jan. 18.

"We offer our deepest sympathies to the family as they mourn the loss and respect their privacy during this difficult time," the company said in a statement.

The postal service said it will work to support employees grieving their colleague while also following guidance from Peel Public Health as it deals with the outbreak.

More than 4,500 people work at the Mississauga site.

As of Wednesday, Canada Post said 250 people had tested positive for COVID-19 since Jan. 1., an increase of 26 cases from the previous day. Nine of the employee cases were found through on-site testing at the worksite.

As of Tuesday, 224 people had tested positive for COVID-19 since Jan. 1.

The Canadian Union of Postal Workers said in a statement that it learned of the worker's death on Wednesday and demanded the postal service ensure the safety of its employees.

"Postal workers have been on the front lines since the beginning of the pandemic, making sure society can function," it said.

"They are worried and tired, and right now, demand answers from Canada Post and Public Health authorities."

Cases at the facility were first detected earlier this month and Canada Post began asymptomatic testing of workers on one shift at the facility on Jan. 19, finding dozens more cases in the following days.

Canada Post said on Sunday that workers who typically work afternoon shifts at the facility were being told to self-isolate for two weeks to avoid further spread, at the advice of the local public health unit.

The facility is a major hub for mail delivery and Canada Post has advised Canadians to expect delays.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 27, 2021.

Holly McKenzie-Sutter, The Canadian Press

Note to readers: This is a corrected story. An earlier version said the employee last worked at the Mississauga facility on Jan. 19. Canada Post later clarified that their last day at work was Jan. 18.