As COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Toronto, more essential service workers are contracting the virus.
Metrolinx announced its first two cases, and the TTC now has six employees who have tested positive for coronavirus.
On March 31, the TTC workers union — ATU Local 113 — confirmed the fifth and sixth employees had tested positive for the virus.
The fifth case is a TTC bus operator from the Mount Dennis garage who is currently in hospital.
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According to the union, he hasn’t been on the job since March 14 and the case is still under investigation.
The sixth case is a TTC Subway collector from the Danforth Division who last worked on Thursday, March 19, where he closed Jane Station at 2:20 am and wore a face mask on the TTC Bloor night bus coming back to Greenwood.
The union said he was tested on Monday, March 30, and received a positive diagnosis on the evening of Tuesday, March 31.
TTC spokesperson, Stuart Green, said Toronto Public Health has indicated there’s no increased risk to colleagues or customers.
A sixth #ttc employee has tested positive for #COVIDー19 A collector who last worked on March 19, three days before becoming symptomatic. Sending best wishes as they recover at home! TPH advises no increased risk to colleagues or customers.
— TTCStuart (@TTCStuart) April 1, 2020
But the TTC isn’t the only transit agency experiencing coronavirus cases.
Metrolinx also confirmed that two of its staff have caught the virus, the first known cases within the company.
According to Metrolinx’s senior manager of media, Anne Marie Aikins, the employees are “recovering at home and have been in self-isolation from first exposure and since our work from home policy began Mar 16.”
We have two @Metrolinx staff (in rail operations & capital) test positive for #COVID19–not unexpected with a few thousands employees. They’re recovering at home & have been in self-isolation from first exposure & since our work from home policy began Mar 16…
— Anne Marie Aikins (@AMAwithAMA) April 1, 2020
She also confirmed their two week isolation, meaning no other staff, clients, or riders on public transit were at risk of transmission.
Metrolinx said that the organization is reducing transmission through physical distancing measures like working from home, quarantining those who have travelled or have been exposed, paying close attention to disinfection and infection control practices, and good hand hygiene.
The transit agency said they have increased safety measures for bus drivers to wear screens, face shields, and masks.
Metrolinx station staff have now removed benches and blocked off seating areas inside Union Station’s York Concourse.
There is also a team dedicated to thoroughly cleaning all trains, buses, and stations each day, with hand-sanitizer now available in all buses and stations.
The TTC is also implementing stricter measures to ensure of physical distancing.
“In order to reduce customer volume and allow for better physical distancing, we are providing a minimum of 47 extra buses for early am and pm peak service on higher volume routes,” said the TTC on April 1.
Last week, the TTC announced it was no longer accepting payment by cash, tickets, or tokens on buses and asks all customers to board and exit using the rear doors when possible to keep operators safe and ensure physical distancing.