Tests confirm golfer not a carrier of COVID-19

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GORDON – The Manitoulin Golf restaurant has now been reopened after tests determined that a golfer at the course who was told one of his household members had tested positive for COVID-19 had himself tested negative. 

“Manitoulin Golf has been notified that the golfer who informed them last Wednesday (July 29) that a household member had tested positive for COVID-19, was determined not to be a carrier,” Scott McDougall, general manager of Manitoulin Golf, informed the Recorder this past Tuesday. 

In a public statement issued on Wednesday of last week, Manitoulin Golf notified customers of the potential COVID-19 exposure on the course.

“This afternoon, a customer at Manitoulin Golf received a phone call while they were golfing from a family member who resides in the same household to inform them that the caller had just tested positive for COVID-19.”

“This customer also dined on the outside patio at about 1 pm,” the July 29 statement continued. As it was unknown at the time whether the golfing customer was a carrier of COVID-19 or not, Manitoulin Golf took precautionary procedures, with all tables and contact surfaces being sterilized after each use and there is physically distancing between tables on the patio. The only customers to sit at the same table after this golfing customer were also notified. “As precautionary measures, the two staff members who were serving this afternoon will not return to work until they receive negative test results.”

It was further explained all carts are regularly sterilized after each use and the golf carts used by this customer and guest were completely sterilized and parked for a few days.

The July 29 statement also pointed out, “with one clubhouse staff member already away, this leaves Manitoulin Golf short of clubhouse staff. Therefore effective immediately and for the next couple days the restaurant will be closed.” The golf course was closed for that evening, except for those who had already paid or are members. 

The clubhouse reopened the next day at the regular time for golfing customers, with the restaurant remaining closed.

Dr. Maurianne Reade, of the Manitoulin Central Family Health Team, told the Recorder in an email July 30,  “the precautions that the golf club has used means that risk of exposure is very small. However, we have increased availability to test those who are concerned they may have been exposed. We know that testing too soon may miss some people who are infected. Five days or so seems to be an ideal time for testing asymptomatic people. In the meantime, it is important that you monitor for any symptoms that could be COVID related. The safest course of action is to wear a mask whenever you have to go out, practice good handwashing and physical distancing whenever possible. If you develop symptoms in the next 14 days, even if you’ve tested negative, please call back and let us know, and isolate at home until you are tested.”

Dr. Reade told the Recorder, “what we want to recognize is that Manitoulin Golf did a great job following all the rules and precautions properly, and by sharing information as to the potential for a COVID case.” 

On Tuesday, Mr. McDougall in an email to the Recorder said, “with isolating staff being able to return to work, the restaurant will be open again on Thursday, August 6.”  

Mr. McDougall said, “it should be explained that although this golfer had not tested positive and therefore was not obligated to notify anyone (as per the Public Health Sudbury and Districts), they made what they thought was the ethical decision and informed Manitoulin Golf before immediately leaving the property. Manitoulin Golf subsequently undertook various precautionary measures including having two staff members self isolate. It is unfortunate that some comments on social media implied that this golfer knowingly potentially exposed fellow customers and staff, which was not the case.”

“Also, had this golfer not disclosed this information, and the results were different, Manitoulin Golf would have received a call that was not expected and would then have to undertake a challenging contact tracing exercise,” continued Mr. McDougall. “It was much better to be in a position to be proactive. This experience has resulted in review of protocol and procedures at Manitoulin Golf to even better ensure that our customers and staff feel safe while enjoying their experience at our facilities.”