Quarantine starts to lift for HP Canada workers

The York Region Health Services Department advised Hewlett-Packard Canada Ltd. on Monday that the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)-related quarantine imposed on 102 of HP Canada’s employees and 95 non-HP employees is beginning to be lifted.

Rob Ireland, manager of corporate and public relations at HP Canada, said that as of Monday afternoon, 120 of the total 197 people affected by the quarantine have been released, and some were to start work the same day.

Ireland said that although the Markham, Ont.-based plant continued to operate throughout the quarantine, he’s glad the inconvenience of the quarantine is coming to an end for HP staff.

“We respect those that have respected the order of public health,” Ireland said. “A quarantine is a tough thing to do for 10 days. It takes some patience and it takes commitment to the larger community, and we really applaud the people that are coming through this.”

Ireland said health authorities have to speak with each individual in quarantine before they can determine if he or she should be released.

“They actually have to phone all the individuals that were quarantined and make sure they get in touch with them live,” Ireland said. “And then do an assessment over the phone to see if they’re exhibiting any symptoms and then release them one by one. So, it’s a fluid number [120] but it’s moving upwards.”

Ireland said the quarantine was issued after public health care authorities notified HP that two of the company’s employees were exhibiting signs and symptoms of the virus. [Please see SARS attacks Canadian business.]