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Public Health closes Amazon Brampton facility due high-risk exposure to COVID-19

Last Updated Mar 12, 2021 at 5:57 pm EDT

An employee works at the Amazon fulfillment centre in Brampton, Ont. on Monday November 26, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

Peel Public Health has ordered the Amazon Canada facility in Brampton to close all shifts after determining all workers had a high-rate of exposure to COVID-19.

All employees will also be required to self-isolate through March 27 unless they have tested positive in the last 90 days and have completed their isolation period.

The Amazon facility at 8050 Heritage Road employs thousands of people and while the rate of COVID-19 infection across Peel has been dropping, the rate inside the facility has been increasing significantly.

There have been a total of 240 COVID-19 cases reported at the facility in the last two weeks, an increase of 40 per cent. Variants of concern have also been identified in the cases.

Medical Officer of Health Dr. Lawrence Loh said immediate action was taken to protect the essential workers and the community.

“This was a difficult decision but a necessary one to stop further spread both in the facility and across our community,” said Dr. Loh.

Dr. Loh said the recent increase in cases is more challenging because they aren’t all linked to the same cluster.

Amazon Canada said they do not believe their data supports this closure and plans on appealing the decision by Peel Public Health.

A statement from an Amazon spokesperson said their latest round of mandatory testing had a less than one percent positive rate and “there appears to be little risk of spread within our facility.” We do not believe the data supports this closure and we will appeal this decision. This closure may have some short-term impact on our Canadian customers, but we will work to recover as quickly as possible.

Peel Region reported 225 new COVID-19 cases on Friday and remains in the Grey-Lockdown zone in the province’s colour-coded framework.

Amazon says the closure could have short-term impact on Canadian customers, but they’ll work to recover as quickly as possible.

Dr. Loh says there is no link between Amazon and Brampton Transit outbreaks. On Tuesday, Brampton Transit said service would be suspended after multiple employees tested positive for COVID-19.

Service will be disrupted to the Steeles West Corridor for at least seven days while Peel Public Health investigates.

Brampton Transit says it’s out of an abundance of caution to keep the community and employees safe.