Ultramar employee tests negative, business re-opens

All remaining staff and residents at R.K. MacDonald Nursing Home test negative

ANTIGONISH: The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) global pandemic has hit home.

An employee at the R.K. MacDonald Nursing Home in Antigonish has tested positive for COVID-19.

“Once we were notified of a case within our staff, we reacted quickly to take the appropriate steps to further protect, test and monitor our residents, and support several of our staff to self-isolate and protect themselves from the potential risk,” said Michelle Thompson, CEO, R.K. MacDonald Nursing Home.

Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Robert Strang told a press briefing in Halifax on Monday that all residents and staff in Antigonish have been tested, and all results were negative.

Leroy McKinnon, senior specialist in corporate communications with the Parkland Fuel Corporation, told The Reporter on March 29 that their Ultramar Retail Station at 705 Reeves Street in Port Hawkesbury was closed temporarily.

“Following provincial health protocol, a worker underwent testing for COVID-19 and is currently self-isolating awaiting the results,” McKinnon said in a statement. “As a precaution – and for the safety of our team, our valued customers and the public – the site is closed to complete a full cleaning and disinfection.”

On Tuesday, McKinnon confirmed that the business – which includes a gas station, convenience store and serves as a Maritime Bus depot – is now open after the employee’s test result came back negative.

The Nova Scotia Health Authority’s (NSHA) Public Health Office said a potential exposure took place on March 12 at the Charles V. Keating Millenium Centre in Antigonish during the Bantam AAA Provincial Hockey Championship.

The Nova Major Bantams hosted the seven-team tournament from March 12-15 in Antigonish which involved squads and their supporters from across Nova Scotia.

NSHA spokesperson Lesley Mulcahy told The Reporter this case is considered low risk.

“It’s like 14 or 15 days for the Antigonish exposure, so chances are most people are beyond the two-week window of when we would expect them to develop symptoms for COVID-19,” Mulcahy said on March 27.

People who were present at that location on that date are asked to monitor for COVID-19 symptoms, the NSHA said. Dr. Strang said close contacts to the Antigonish case have been identified and tested, and the public advisory was issued to identify any other people who may have been exposed.

Mulcahy said the Antigonish case came to their attention after one Nova Scotian who tested positive for coronavirus told investigators they attended the tournament in Antigonish.

“In the interviews and the conversations that we’ve had with people who’ve tested positive, we would ask about where they’ve been during the potential period of time; to figure out where they’ve been, who they’ve interacted with to find people who they may have been in close contact with or… places where they’ve been,” Mulcahy explained.

The NSHA has only put out two other public exposure notifications, one concerning a basketball tournament in Halifax, the other a St. Patrick’s Day party in Lake Echo.

“The driver behind this is making sure that if we can, we identify additional cases related to existing cases and that will help us in our efforts to understand how things are being transmitted, and ideally be able to contain it,” Mulcahy added.