First TTC operator tests positive for coronavirus

Mar 25 2020, 6:30 am

The first TTC operator has tested positive for COVID-19, the transit system confirmed on Tuesday.

The patient is a TTC subway operator from the Wilson Division and is currently at home in self-isolation. It is known that the man worked part of a shift on Line 1 on March 16 before reporting he felt unwell and booked time off for being sick.

He has not been at work since. The TTC said once they were advised of the diagnosis, they immediately engaged Toronto Public Health to determine the next steps.

The transit system also consulted with employee representatives on the Joint Health and Safety Committee and with the workers union, ATU Local 113.

“At this time, Toronto Public Health has advised that there is no increased risk to other employees or customers. We are, however, identifying a small number of employees with whom the operator had casual contact on March 16. They will be advised only to self-monitor for symptoms,” the TTC said.

TTC spokesperson, Stuart Green, echoed these sentiments on social media and added, “he is thankfully recovering at home.”

According to the TTC, subway operators work in cabs separated from the public that are cleaned and disinfected daily. Operators are also provided with disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer.

The transit workers union also responded to the news saying, “All ATU Local 113 Sisters and Brothers wish the member a speedy recovery.”

Since late January, the TTC has taken numerous steps in response to the coronavirus pandemic including multiple cleanings of vehicles and stations each day, eliminating paper transfers, allowing operators to wear masks if they choose, and implementing rear-door boarding on buses to reduce potential exposure for operators.

“As we provide a critical service for our city during this pandemic, including for health care workers, ATU Local 113 continues to push the TTC and Toronto Public Health to do whatever is necessary to ensure a safe and healthy environment for TTC workers and riders,” the workers union said.

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Last week, a TTC mechanic tested positive for the coronavirus and is in self-isolation.

According to the TTC, the employee doesn’t work on frontline service maintenance, but approximately 130-170 employees are impacted and out of an “abundance of caution” have been instructed to self-isolate until March 25.