Niagara's MOH calming the waters


Niagara's Acting Medical Officer of Health a voice of calm this weekend after mounting hysteria in the town of Pelham over allegations a local grocery store franchise owner and town councillor went to work while being infected with COVID-19.

The accusations prompted Ron Kore to release a statement explaining while he did test positive for the virus, he immediately went into quarantine and did not go to work.

We asked Niagara top doctor,  Mustafa Hirji, what is the risk to others from a sick co worker?

Hirji noting being in the same building as someone with COVID is low risk, but working with someone in close contact or living in the same household obviously raises the risk factor.

He tells us once someone is diagnosed with the virus, Public Health does an indepth interview with the person to walk through everything they've done, everywhere they've been, all the conversations and interactions they've had.

Hirji says they then build a list of those they have had close contact with and who need to have some follow up.

As for going to a grocery store, he says its pretty low risk, noting stores have been diligently sanitizing carts and high touch areas.

Here is the full statement from Ron Kore:

PELHAM, ONTARIO - April 25, 2020 - I last attended a Town Council meeting on March 23rd. I sat at a table by myself and at a distance from others in excess of Niagara Region Public Health's physical distancing recommendations. At that time, my wife and I were regularly monitoring ourselves for symptoms as outlined by Public Health.  I took Public Health's self-assessment test each day and I did not have the symptoms to qualify for a test at that time.

On April 13th, a nurse from Public Health informed me that I had been in contact with someone that tested positive for COVID-19.  I made a request to be tested but she said I did not require a test.  I contacted my physician to discuss my health and consider a test. He did make arrangements for me to be tested for the virus. My test was scheduled for April 17th and the only time I left self-quarantine since the 13th was to get the test administered.

On April 20th I received confirmation that I had tested positive for COVID-19; however, that day I was informed by a nurse at Niagara Region Public Health ("NRPH") that I was no longer infectious and she had: 

"verified with our medical officer of health at Niagara Region Public Health Dr. Hirji that you can resume your normal activities of work and do not need to self-isolate." 

To set the record straight, I waive my privacy rights regarding the correspondence Niagara Region Public Health provided me and encourage them to make public their recommendations to me about returning to work.

Out of an abundance of caution and notwithstanding NRPH's recommendations, I have remained in self-quarantine and will do so for 14 days since testing positive.

 As a 63 year old individual with a history of heart disease, I would never take a risk with my health, the health of my wife, employees or colleagues at Town Hall. 

The Town's response on this matter has been reckless and irresponsible. Further speculation is not warranted and would be completely inappropriate.