Workers at Toyota assembly plants in Woodstock and Cambridge don’t understand why health officials are allowing dozens of workers to self-isolate on the job after they were potentially exposed to COVID-19, an employee says.
“We don’t understand how workers can isolate on the job,” said Lee Sperduti, an 18-year employee.
“We have been told from the beginning if exposed the best thing to do is be in a room and now people are at work? They can’t go to the grocery store, but they can come into work?”
Workers need more information on how self-isolation on the job can be safe, Sperduti said.
“We’re confused. We all want to do our jobs, but we want to go home safe to our families.”
Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada said workers are self-isolating on the job.
“We were informed that a member of the third-party contractor administering the rapid tests at our facilities (in Cambridge and Woodstock) had tested positive for COVID-19,” the automaker said in statement.
“Public health officials decided that (Toyota) workers could practise ‘work self-isolation.’ We’re fully co-operating with public health authorities and following their guidance.”
The statement sowed confusion among the 8,000 workers at the two plants, however, because the message on COVID exposure has been to quarantine for 14 days, Sperduti said.
Self-isolation on the job means workers must:
- Take their temperature twice a day to monitor for fever
- Travel to and from work in private vehicles. If they take transit, they have to wear surgical/procedure masks and perform hand hygiene before and after they travel to work
- Wear surgical masks and any additional personal protective equipment
- Not eat meals in shared spaces
- Work in only one location where possible
- Self-isolate when outside of the workplace
The contract employee tested positive March 25 and workers must self-isolate until April 8.
Southwestern Public Health said officials completed an “infection prevention and control” assessment at the Woodstock plant.
“Our team is working very closely with Toyota to ensure any of the identified contacts attending work are doing so safely using appropriate . . . measures. Additional health and safety oversight is being provided by the health and safety team onsite,” Joyce Lock, medical officer of health, said in a statement.
There have been no other positive tests at the plant and the health unit said there is not a COVID-19 outbreak at the plant, the statement said.
About 150 employees are self-isolating on the job.