Canada Post employee dies after contracting COVID-19 amid major outbreak at Mississauga facility
TORONTO -- A Canada Post employee infected with COVID-19 during an outbreak that has impacted 224 workers at a Mississauga, Ont., facility died over the weekend, the union representing workers said.
Canadian Union of Postal Workers Toronto local president Qaiser Maroof told CP24 the employee at the Gateway East plant died on Monday.
He said the man worked nights on “Shift 1” at the Gateway East plant.
He was tested on Jan. 19 and isolated at home after his test.
Between the start of January and today, 224 workers at the facility have tested positive for coronavirus infection.
The spread at the 4,500-worker facility got so bad this month that 100 Canada Border Services Agency guards assigned to inspect packages at the facility were instructed to stay away.
More than 350 workers – an entire shift of workers in one area of the facility - were sent home to self-isolate last week as Peel Public Health sought to slow the spread of infection in the facility.
Maroof said the deceased employee was not part of the shift sent home to self-isolate, and sought out testing on his own.
He did not show symptoms prior to his test and was upset that he was not offered a test as a proactive measure, Maroof recalled.
“It is an unnecessary loss of life and our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends,” Maroof said in a statement. “This tragedy underscores why we have been insisting to the government that the postal workers are indeed frontline workers.”
Employees told CP24 news of death was shared informally with some workers on Tuesday.
Chief Medical Officer of Health for Peel Region Dr. Lawrence Loh would not comment on the death when asked Wednesday.
He said that rapid tests were used to detect cases at Gateway East.
Maroof said he did not know whether the man was hospitalized prior to his death or where in the GTA he passed away.
The man’s wife also works for Canada Post, at a Toronto facility on Eastern Avenue.
Canada Post did not comment on the death when asked Wednesday, only saying that the outbreak was impacting parcel processing speeds at the facility.
A previous headline said the employee died of COVID-19. While the worker had tested positive for the disease, it has not yet been confirmed if it was the cause of death.