Metrolinx first COVID-19 update for 2021

Since the pandemic began in March 2020, Metrolinx has kept customers and communities updated throughout the pandemic when it comes to staff who have tested positive for COVID. This is our first update of 2021.

In the first week of January, six additional Metrolinx employees have tested positive for COVID-19 and are recovering at home. None of the cases are within the same location, nor connected in any way.

Three of the affected staff members were working from home; the remaining were administrative staff or working on the frontlines including the first Transit Safety officer. Metrolinx has assisted public health agencies with contact tracing to ensure any at-risk staff self-isolate. Part of the process is to ensure any customers or partner agencies, who may be at-risk are informed as well.  This process has helped significantly to limit the spread of the virus.

Out of over 4,300 Metrolinx employees, 55 have now tested positive for COVID-19. To date, there have been no outbreaks involving Metrolinx employees on the transit agency’s systems as safety protocols such as masks and distancing have helped limit – and stay ahead – of the spread of the virus.

Image shows tracks leading into an underground portal.
The view down on the West Don Mills portal for Crosstown. Though the image was taken during a warmer month. (Metrolinx photo)

This week, however, Crosslinx – the constructor of the Eglinton Crosstown LRT project – reported COVID-19 outbreaks at eight of their locations within their construction staff and sub-contractors. Through contact tracing, it was determined that no Metrolinx staff were potentially exposed.

Transit construction has been deemed an essential service. Crosslinx and all contractors and constructors have been entrusted with the critical responsibility to run safe sites – this includes ensuring appropriate protections are in place for their employees to minimize the transmission of COVID-19.  

Safety is critical to everything Metrolinx does, as the transit agency monitors the situation on all construction sites closely to ensure the constructors live up to their obligations to provide safe environments.

With virus numbers rapidly escalating in Ontario and a province-wide shutdown in place, Metrolinx will continue to operate essential GO Transit and UP Express service but is asking customers to limit their travel to essential trips only – work or medical appointments, or to get food and prescriptions.

Even though the vaccine rollout is now in full gear, it is critically important to stay committed to the basics from public health:

  • Stay home as much as possible
  • Stay home if ill or potentially exposed to COVID-19
  • Wear a face covering and ensure both the nose and mouth is covered at all times (Check out the Metrolinx PPE dispensers and branded masks)
  • Wash your hands regularly and use hand sanitizer
  • Download the COVID Alert App. Good news; the app now works for older phones.

Story by Anne Marie Aikins, Metrolinx senior manager of media.