SaultOnline was alerted this morning to a positive COVID test among transit employees. We were also told 50 other employees were instructed to get tested.
We reached out to the city for comment and Tessa Vecchio, communications manager with the city, was able to confirm by e-mail that there was a positive test in their response to us. They also highlighted everything they are doing in order to keep the public safe in the following response.
“The safety and well-being of transit customers and staff is paramount, as it always is. Especially during the pandemic, added safeguards have been reviewed. The City has continually monitored and adjusted safety protocols and equipment since last March 2020, continuing to adapt as new information changes and becomes available.
With respect to an employee testing positive, Algoma Public Health has identified and directly notified close contacts and has provided public health guidance. Through case and contact management, a limited group of individuals were identified as close contacts with exposure risks.
Due to privacy considerations, the City is not able to confirm whether the staff member testing positive was a transit driver or a member of the broader transit team. Algoma Public Health has deemed the development low risk however, if any service modifications are required, we will communicate this to the public as soon as possible.
Transit Services has implemented many modifications to support the physical distancing and enhanced cleaning efforts recommended by Algoma Public Health and provincial and federal governments. In addition to the general distancing, sanitization and mask requirements, Transit Services continues to provide an essential community service in a manner that is safe and accessible to all.
- Additional cleaning and sanitization protocols have been conducted on a continuous basis. Cleaning staff undertake enhanced measures to ensure buses are appropriately disinfected.
- Sault Ste. Marie transit is to be used for essential travel only, and to follow public health guidelines including wearing a mask.
- Customers are asked to board and exit buses using the appropriate doors only.
- Transit Services has been limiting the amount of passengers per bus for increased physical distancing measures.
- All transit drivers are equipped with individual hand sanitizers and refill bottles for their use. Also have masks, gloves and shields as needed.
- Mounts with hand sanitizer bottles are located in all Para buses due to close proximity that Operators are with Para bus clients.
- Protective shields are installed on all buses for the health and safety of bus drivers and customers.
- Disinfectant spray is in each bus for operator use on a regular basis, as well as disinfecting wipes.
- Seats are blocked off the ensure physical distancing.
- Signage is posted on all buses as a reminder to follow public health guidelines.
The City continues to work with employees and union representatives to ensure fair and equitable treatment with respect to remuneration during these unprecedented times and the present extenuating circumstance. The details of such arrangements will remain between the Employer and Employees.
We continue to work closely with Algoma Public Health to assist with its efforts regarding test results. Customers are urged to respect onboard protocols and signage at all times. We thank our customers for their patience and our drivers for their dedicated service to our community during this time.”
Stay with SaultOnline as we bring you more information about the ever-evolving COVID situation in Sault Ste. Marie.