Gravenhurst Chamber of Commerce building closed after COVID-19 app alert
GRAVENHURST, ONT. -- An alert from the COVID-19 contact tracing app resulted in the closure of a Service Ontario office in Gravenhurst.
"We have a lot of protocols in place, we've done a lot of things right, but we didn't have a protocol for that," said Sandy Lockhart, Gravenhurst Chamber of Commerce Executive Director.
Lockhart received word early Friday morning that a staff member at the Service Ontario building got the alert on the app that there was possible exposure from someone who tested positive for the virus.
The app doesn't indicate where or under what circumstances exposure may have taken place.
Lockhart decided to close the Gravenhurst Chamber of Commerce facility, which is home to the town's Service Ontario office, while the staff member is tested. She said no other employees received alerts.
"So we don't think it took place here, but we are cleaning, absolutely. But we're the Chamber of Commerce that operates Service Ontario, so we've really taken a proactive role," Lockhart explained.
The local health unit is monitoring the situation and said the building could reopen, but Lockhart is erring on the side of caution, staying closed until all staff have been tested.
"We're in Muskoka, so we're sort of in a bubble of safety, and that bubble could be popped at any point," stated Bracebridge resident Caitlyn Henze regarding the situation.
The health unit said the COVID-19 Alert app helps residents know if and when they come into close contact with a positive case and seek testing.
"That is our number one tool to be able to follow up with people who have symptoms. Follow up with those cases and do that contact tracing, which is so important to make sure it doesn't continue to spread in our community," said MaryAnn Holmes, Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit's COVID-19 Infectious Diseases Program Manager.
Lockhart said all staff members have the app on their phones, and now they know it's effectiveness. Pending the test results of staff, she hopes to reopen the building on Monday.