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COVID strikes the Innisfail Public Library

One staff member tests positive, another in quarantine
MVP Tara Downs Xmas 2020
Tara Downs, manager of the Innisfail Public Library, confirmed on April 29 that one staff member has tested positive for COVID-19 and another has been deemed a close contact. Submitted photo

INNISFAIL – The COVID-19 pandemic has extended its potentially deadly reach to the Innisfail Public Library, with one staff member testing positive and another being in close contact and forced to quarantine for 14 days.

Tara Downs, the library’s manager, told The Albertan she was informed in the late afternoon of April 28 that a staff member tested positive for COVID-19.

Downs said she then immediately contacted Alberta Health Services (AHS) proactively.

“I didn’t want to wait for contact tracing. I wanted to find out what the parameters were that were in place for determining close contact,” she said.

Downs said she was advised by AHS to get the close contact staff member to call AHS to go through the COVID check list to determine whether he or she was in close contact.

“After I directed this person to call AHS, they did deem the person as a close contact,” she said.

Downs said the close contact staff member is being quarantined for 14 days and is getting tested as mandated by provincial guidelines.

The library was forced to close its door again on April 6 when the provincial government ordered stricter restrictions due to the rapid rise in COVID infections.

Since then, the library has been only able to offer curbside service, including those for programming kits, and online programming, such as Art from the Heart and Book Club. There has been no in-person programming since last summer.

With the new COVID case she said there will not be any changes, and the curbside and online services will continue. Downs added that library patrons can also access e-resources.

“There are completely no contact ways of accessing resources online - digital books, digital audio books and magazines, the list goes on,” she said, adding the staff positive COVID case has been unsettling.

“I can tell you that probably about two weeks ago I felt like this was – using the term closing in, and so I feel like it has happened," she said.

"It has closed in on us and when we get to that point it is going to be more difficult to stop it. We know that.”


Johnnie Bachusky

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