Metrolinx COVID-19 Update for Jan. 20, 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.

In the past week, six additional Metrolinx employees have tested positive for COVID-19 and are recovering at home.  Out of over 4,300 Metrolinx employees, half of whom are working from home, 67 have now tested positive for COVID-19 – approximately 1.5% of our workforce.

Metrolinx safety protocols such as masks, PPE and distancing, as well as upgraded ventilation and sanitization, which were implemented when the pandemic began, have helped limit the spread of the virus.

A bus sits parked with a special wrap.
A GO bus sits parked in a special wrap, pointing out the many ways that customers are kept safe from COVID-19. (Metrolinx photo)

Of the most recent cases, staff in bus operations, finance, and rail fleet maintenance have tested positive. Two bus operators working out of the Oshawa Garage also tested positive in the past week which was reported to Durham Region Health Department (DRHD).

DRHD declared a ‘workplace outbreak’ in the Oshawa Garage so Metrolinx is working closely with public health officials to minimize potential spread. A workplace outbreak is defined as two or more laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases with an epidemiological link in the workplace (such as the same work area, same shift) within a 14-day period. This is the first outbreak and first employee-to-employee infection involving Metrolinx staff.

Given the rise in infection rates across the province, the Ontario government announced a stay-at-home order for all residents, beginning January 14 to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

Essentially the order means people should remain home except for work, groceries, pharmacy, healthcare appointments or exercise. If customers do need to use GO or UP for essential purposes, they will not be required to travel with special documentation. Customers are reminded to wear their face coverings.

Over 2,000 Metrolinx employees who are able to work from home will continue to do so. Public consultations will also continue virtually. But otherwise, our frontline staff will continue to provide lifeline service for anyone needing to travel for essential purposes.

Everyone is reminded to remain focused on 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 – the app now works for older phones.

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