The business affected by a cluster of COVID-19 cases in southwestern Manitoba was a Brandon-based trucking company office, the premier says.
Seven positive cases have now been identified connected with the Paul’s Hauling office on Richmond Avenue E. in Brandon.
On Tuesday, Chief Provincial Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin said that five recently announced cases were discovered to be part of a “small cluster” at a workplace in the Prairie Mountain Health region in southwestern Manitoba.
On Wednesday he said two more people at the same workplace tested positive, but would not identify the workplace.
Premier Brian Pallister confirmed the Brandon company’s offices as the site of the cluster at a news conference on Thursday morning.
“The point I would hope to emphasize through this is the need for all of us to continue to be vigilant,” he said, stressing the importance of physical distancing and other health measures right now as Manitoba reopens parts of its economy.
“And of course, this is important not just in the trucking industry but throughout our economy.”
WATCH | Premier on COVID-19 cluster at trucking company:
Paul’s Hauling representatives refused CBC News requests on Monday and Tuesday for details confirming it as the site of the cluster.
At news conferences earlier in the week, Roussin would not give further details or name the company, citing privacy. He said only that the workplace was not a health-care facility or a food supply company, and didn’t have significant interaction with the public.
Roussin said he is unsure how the person with the first case at the trucking company contracted the virus, but the others all stem from the initial case. The affected staff and their close contacts are self-isolating and public health officials are working with those patients on contact tracing.
Most of the contact-tracing investigation into the cases is already complete, he said on Wednesday. However, he did not rule out the chance there could be more linked cases identified, as contact tracing for the two new patients continues.
“It’s certainly possible,” he said. “We’re still in the incubation period for many of the contacts.”
Paul’s Hauling is headquartered in Winnipeg, on Oak Point Highway, and started in Virden in 1957. It has branches in Ontario, Manitoba and Saskatchewan.
The company says on its website that it is one of the leading providers of bulk transport service in Western Canada.
The company was established by Paul Albrechtsen in Winnipeg, and now has offices and terminals in a number of locations in Canada.
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