Coronavirus: Toronto subway operator tests positive for COVID-19

A Toronto Transit Commission subway operator has tested positive for COVID-19, marking the first publicly reported case of a frontline employee at the transit agency being diagnosed since the coronavirus outbreak began.

According to a statement issued by ATU Local 113, the union that represents a majority of TTC employees, the subway operator went to work for their shift on the morning of March 16.

The union said the operator, who is based out of the TTC’s Wilson yard, went home shortly after their shift began because they weren’t feeling well. The statement said the employee has been at home ever since.

“ATU Local 113 is working with the TTC and Toronto Public Health to determine (the) next steps/actions to further protect the health of workers and riders,” the union said.

“As we provide a critical service for our city during this pandemic, including for health care workers, ATU Local 113 continues to push the TTC and Toronto Public Health to do whatever is necessary to ensure a safe and healthy environment for TTC workers and riders.”

The news comes less than a week after it was confirmed an employee at the TTC’s Duncan shop, which overhauls and rebuilds buses, tested positive for COVID-19.

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The transit agency recently allowed employees to wear face masks while working and instituted rear-door bus boarding to minimize the number of passengers coming through the front door close to the driver.

The TTC previously highlighted efforts to increase cleaning on its fleet of vehicles.

As of Tuesday evening, the Ontario government said there were 572 active cases of COVID-19 in the province. Eight Ontario residents have died and eight cases have been resolved.

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