Parliamentary security officer tests positive for COVID-19 after going to work sick
OTTAWA -- A member of the Parliamentary Protective Service (PPS), which safeguards Parliament Hill, has tested positive for COVID-19 after going to work while awaiting results.
According to a Senate Human Resources email sent to Senators and staff and obtained by CTV News, the PPS member worked on the main floor of a building in the Parliamentary precinct that many senators' offices are in, but also visited a series of other spaces on Parliament Hill over the course of several days before reporting a positive diagnosis.
The security employee began feeling symptoms on Sept. 2, went for a COVID-19 test on Sept. 3, and proceeded to visit certain parliamentary break rooms, locker rooms, guard huts, elevators and other spaces on Sept. 8, before informing the PPS of the positive result on Sept. 10.
In a later email to CTVNews.ca the Parliamentary Protective Service said that the areas in which the individual worked both before and after they become symptomatic received deep cleanings as an extra precaution, including the vehicle screening facility where the employee spent their last shift.
The individual is now self-isolating, the areas they visited on the Hill have been disinfected, and contact tracing has identified 19 individuals who came into contact with the officer and they are self-isolating for 14 days and monitoring for symptoms.
"Ottawa Public Health has categorized the contact risk for those individuals as low and they have all been notified," reads the Senate email.
According to the email, no senators or staff had any direct contact with the person but those who were in the spaces this person was in around the same time are being asked to monitor for symptoms.
Further, PPS said that as soon as it learned of the positive test it “rapidly activated our COVID-19 protocols in an effort to safeguard the health and safety of our employees, as well as that of all parliamentarians and the parliamentary community,” including contacting the House of Commons.
“We continue to liaise with our parliamentary partners and remain in close contact with public health, participating fully in a review of the situation,” PPS said in the email.
"Anyone who may have been on these premises at the time, or in the 48 hours that followed, do not need to take any precautions other than monitoring their health for symptoms. Individuals can continue to attend work, if required," it states.
This comes as preparations are underway to resume Parliament amid the pandemic, with officials putting in place additional health and safety precautions for the throne speech taking place in the Senate Chamber on Sept. 23.
Meanwhile, the entire Bloc Quebecois caucus is currently in isolation after an employee in Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet’s office tested positive for COVID-19.
With a file from CTV News’ Michel Boyer