One crew member on a BC Ferries vessel has tested positive for COVID-19, the ferry corporation has confirmed.
According to Deborah Marshall, the spokesperson for BC Ferries, the crew member worked on the Spirit of British Columbia, one of the vessels that operates on the major route between Tsawwassen and Swartz Bay.
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The crew member interacted with seven other crew members on March 9 and 10, but they were not showing any symptoms at the time. Furthermore, it was not until several days later, during their days off, when they began to show symptoms.
The ferry corporation does not believe the employee was in contact with other crew or passengers.
“We are committed to provide and protect safe and reliable connectivity to communities, and to safeguard the sustainability of the ferry system. To do this, BC Ferries is closely focused on protecting the health and safety of ferry workers, without whom essential ferry service would not be possible,” she told Daily Hive.
“Our frontline co-workers face the virus everyday so that critical supplied and people reach coastal communities. We are incredibly proud of our brave and courageous colleagues.”
BC Ferries has already implemented a series of measures to help curb the spread of COVID-19, including implementing enhanced cleaning and disinfecting measures, closing hot food outlets and non-essential retail services, and working with Transport Canada to temporarily allow passengers to remain in their vehicles on enclosed decks, effectively helping promote physical distancing.
As well, walk-on passengers now have space to distance themselves from other passengers.
The pandemic has resulted in an 40% decline in traffic on the ferry services, which has forced the company to reduce the frequencies of some of its routes, specifically the major routes between Metro Vancouver and Vancouver Island.