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. Here’s the latest.
In the past week, five additional Metrolinx employees have tested positive for COVID-19 and in addition, one staff member has died – the first staff member to succumb from complications related to the virus. Metrolinx CEO Phil Verster personally extended condolences on behalf of his work family.
Verster said: “Our thoughts and deepest sympathies go out to the family and friends of our colleague during this difficult time.”
Working in GO Transit station services for the past 11 years, the well-liked staff member’s family has requested privacy as they grieve the loss of their beloved husband and father. His last day at work was Jan. 8, of this year, and it does not appear he contracted COVID-19 at the workplace.
Out of more than 4,300 Metrolinx employees, half of whom remain working from home, 72 have now tested positive for COVID-19 – approximately 1.6 per cent of the workforce. There have been two workplace transmissions since March 2020.
Metrolinx safety protocols such as masks, PPE and distancing, employee health checks, upgraded ventilation and sanitization, along with barriers on trains, buses and in stations have together helped limit the spread of the virus.
On Jan. 14, the Ontario government began a stay-at-home order for all residents, 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.
Efforts are paying off as the numbers are just beginning to come down, but it is important to remain focused on the basics from public health:
- Stay home except for essential trips
- 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.