London Transit says Route 20 driver tests positive for COVID-19
LONDON, ONT. -- A London transit operator has tested positive for COVID-19.
This is London transit’s first positive test, although some drivers have expressed fear about contracting the virus.
Andre Fournier, president of Local 741 says, "[Drivers] are scared for their lives right now, absolutely terrified.”
The London Transit Commission (LTC) says it was made aware that an operator tested positive on Tuesday.
It says staff immediately contacted the Middlesex-London Health Unit and began a joint investigation to determine next steps.
The driver identified worked on Route 20 between the hours of 7 a.m. and 3 p.m. on any of the days between March 24 and March 31.
The LTC says the health unit is reaching out directly to those who have been in close contact with this operator and will provide guidance on next steps, including direction to self-isolate for 14 days from their exposure and to monitor for symptoms.
People who travelled on this route during the above days and times who do not have symptoms should continue to practice physical distancing and do not need to call the health unit, the LTC says.
Those who develop symptoms are asked to visit this site where the online assessment tool will advise whether it is necessary to go to an assessment centre to get tested.
Dr. Chris Mackie, the Middlesex-London Health Unit's Medical Officer of Health and CEO says the health unit did not direct the LTC that they absolutely had to make this information available to the public. It was London Transit's decision to send out a public service annoucement about the driver.
Mackie says there is no risk to the public due to the way drivers sit.
He says they would only notify the public when there is a "measurable, significant risk to the public...at times when we can't otherwise notify the people involved."
London Mayor Ed Holder again stressed the necessity of public transportation.
"Buses are an essential form of transportation to be able to get people to and from work," he says.
An enhanced cleaning and disinfecting schedule remains in effect for buses, the LTC says, and bus sanitizing is occurring nightly.
As for concerned drivers, Councillor Phil Squire, LTC board chair, says they have some choices.
“Any driver that isn’t comfortable driving at this point of time, is allowed to take vacation time or they can take leave. And I would urge any driver who feels that way to take advantage of one of those two options.”
- With files from CTV's Marek Sutherland