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Canadian News Apr 23, 2020 3:19 PM EST

Ontario town councillor and Sobeys franchisee tests positive for coronavirus after working for FOUR WEEKS with symptoms

Sobeys has reported that franchisee Ron Kore has been working at the store for almost four weeks despite showing respiratory illness symptoms.

Ontario town councillor and Sobeys franchisee tests positive for coronavirus after working for FOUR WEEKS with symptoms
Sam Edwards High Level, Alberta

This article was published more than 1 year ago, information might not be up to date.

Many employees of the Fonthill, Ontario Sobeys have reported that franchisee Ron Kore has been working at the store for almost four weeks despite showing respiratory illness symptoms. Kore is also a Pelham town councillor.

The employees, who wished to remain anonymous, said that corporate representatives of Sobeys met with staff on April 22 to deliver the news, according to The Voice.

Jacqueline Weatherbee, a spokesman for Sobeys, confirmed that one of the Fonthill store employees tested positive for the virus. She would not confirm the identity of the individual for privacy reasons but she said the test results came in on April 20.

“Our employee is at home resting,” Weatherbee said. “We wish them a speedy recovery, as we do with everyone else dealing with this terrible virus right now.”

A list of stores with employees that have tested positive for coronavirus was updated on Thursday, April 23. The list said that the infected employee's most recent appearance in the store was April 14.

Staff at the store said they had become frustrated with Kore as he continued to work while he was ill. One of the employees said it was causing them significant stress.

“I’m even wondering if I should be tested. Could I have used the same phone as Ron? Could I be a carrier?” The employee said, “So many questions on something that could have been avoided had our boss done his due diligence and stayed home the minute he got sick.”

The source noted that Kore referred to his illness as just a minor cold.

Kore was showing respiratory symptoms as early as March 23 when he was at Town Hall attending a Pelham Town Council meeting. During the meeting Kore was sitting about eight feet away from fellow Councillor Mike Ciolfi.

Ciolfi began showing symptoms of illness within days. These became so bad that he began having trouble speaking.

Ciolfi tested positive for coronavirus in the first week of April and died on April 12. The cause of his death has not been released.

It has recently been reported by The Voice that two other people who were in attendance at the meeting have now tested positive for coronavirus.

For the next council meeting, scheduled for April 6, Kore insisted on meeting in person rather than by teleconference.

Mayor Marvin Junkin who was also at the council meeting said that he told Kore the meeting would be cancelled if he showed up in person. Kore did not take attend either by teleconference or in person.

“When there was a suitable technical alternative that allowed him to do his job as a councillor,” Junkin said, “the same as every other member of council, there was no reason for him to personally attend.”

Junken noted that since the test results, he has not heard any further information from Kore or from Sobeys.

“If he did in fact test positive, I’m disappointed that he hasn’t contacted myself or the CAO so that we could have alerted Town staff, who may have had close proximity with him at past meetings,” Junkin said. “If he has tested positive, the Town would have liked to know about it.”

Weatherbee said the employee that tested positive for coronavirus will be allowed to continue working 14 days after their results came back along with “medical, professional approval.”

She added that staff at the Sobeys won't be receiving testing.

“Public Health hasn’t given us any indication that we should be testing employees, but if their position changes, we will comply, as we have in every other instance across the country.”

Phil Gavin, a spokesman for the Niagara Regional Police said that an investigation is being carried out though he could not release specifics.

“We are aware of the community concerns in relation to this matter,” Gavin said. “We have commenced an investigation.  As such it would not be appropriate to comment further.”

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