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Monday, December 6, 2021

Coronavirus: Sister of Canada Post employee who died amid COVID-19 outbreak demands answers

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Nearly a month since the death of her 62-year-old brother, Amanda Yeung Collucci is calling on Canada Post to provide answers about a COVID-19 outbreak at his workplace.

“All employers should really take a serious role and responsibility if there’s any cases happening in the workplace they need to do a very thorough investigation to find out where it’s being originated,” said Collucci.

The city councillor in Markham, Ontario said she has received many calls from constituents since her brother’s death last month asking for assurances that their own workplaces are safe.

“Whether they work at a grocery store, or retail store, they all want me to take this opportunity … to really remind all the employers out there … to continue to put their employees first and protect them and their health and their wellbeing,” she said.

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Her brother, Godfrey Yeung, 62, was a longtime employee at the Gateway East facility in Mississauga.

Yeung was also a father of two, and a “loving husband,” his sister said.

He went to work on January 19 and returned home the following day after his regular overnight shift, but felt sick.

He began coughing so the whole family went for COVID-19 testing.

Two days later Yeung and his daughter tested positive.

“Although his symptoms seem to be mild, the whole situation went down very fast and he went to bed the 25th and said ‘I don’t feel so good,’” she said.

Yeung Collucci said her sister-in-law suggested they go to the hospital but he chose to wait a day, hoping he would start to feel better.

“He never made that one more day,” she said, adding, “He is an extremely healthy individual, no pre-existing condition whatsoever, he has a very healthy lifestyle … an active person.”

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As the shock of his death begins to subside, Yeung Collucci said she wants answers.

“There should be some sort of accountability and responsibility … I never get any answers from anyone,” she said.

Yeung Collucci is wondering why the Canada Post facility where her brother worked was allowing employees to remove masks and sit together in a lunchroom every day.

“We cannot do dine-in anymore but yet the lunchroom was still open … you can’t purchase food from the restaurant and eat there but it’s ok to bring your own food and eat in the lunchroom? I’m scratching my head,” she said.

Yeung Collucci also noted her brother’s overnight shift was the last one to experience mandatory COVID-19 testing.

“There has been outbreak … are all of the night shift workers magically immune? This COVID-19 is serious … employers need to be extremely vigilant to protect their employees health,” she said.

Canadian Union of Postal Workers Toronto local president Qaiser Maroof told Global News he too will not rest until he has answers.

“To me it’s a failure by public health … why [did] it take you that long to declare an outbreak when we have hundreds of cases?” he said.

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He also pointed the finger at Canada Post for reportedly not enforcing physical distancing measures early on and waiting to call for mandatory testing of all three shifts, including Godfrey Yeung’s overnight shift.

“When Canada Post is communicating with the public health, the union was not part of that communication and that is a key information here that we were not part of, so I do not know if Canada Post sugar coating information,” he added.

Maroof expressed disappointment with the way the outbreak was handled at the plant.

“We are serving mail, we are serving you, we are serving Canadians, we are serving the public, we shouldn’t be treated like this. The government has a responsibility to answer,” he said.

As for the family of Godfrey Yeung, his wife and children continue to grieve in private, but his sister said she felt an obligation to speak out and ask questions of her brother’s employer.

“What precautions do they have? Have they ever done a complete shutdown to do a complete sanitization of the place and then if they do, how are they going to open up and make sure every single employee is safe?”

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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