Health unit declares workplace outbreak at Barrie Transit as three more drivers contract COVID-19

 The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit has declared a COVID-19 workplace outbreak at Barrie Transit after three more drivers, for a total of six, received a positive test for the virus.
The City was notified that three more Barrie Transit staff received a positive COVID-19 test result. There are currently six Barrie Transit staff isolating at home following a positive COVID-19 test. All buses are thoroughly cleaned and sanitized after service each day and receive additional mid-day sanitization to further improve safety measures.
As the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU) advises on an ongoing basis, everyone in the community should follow Health Unit guidelines, self-monitor, and get tested if they have COVID-19 symptoms. The health unit declared a workplace outbreak because there could be a link between two of the cases. At this time, the three new cases have not been linked to the previous cases. The unit continues to support the health policies and practices that Barrie Transit has in place, and as a result they believe the risk of spread is low. Barrie Transit will continue operate as normal and maintain current service levels.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Barrie Transit has taken extra precautions to keep employees and riders safe and continues to follow the direction of the Health Unit. These measures include:
• plexiglass shield around the driver
• at least six feet of space between the driver and the first seat on the bus
• enhanced cleaning and disinfecting of vehicles
• requirement for masks in public areas
• hand sanitizers on all vehicles
• capacity limitations to support physical distancing
• active screening of all employees completed on a daily basis
• protocols in place that eliminates the requirement for physical contact between drivers and riders
Barrie Transit staff wear a mask or face covering when working in the public areas of the indoor public space unless the staff member is within or behind a physical barrier or is in an area of the premises that is not designated for public access. The operators (drivers) do not have to wear masks as they are separated from the public by plexiglass shields installed on buses. They do need to wear masks if they exit the driver seat/plexiglass area to secure a wheelchair/mobility device or enter the public area of the vehicle.
Everyone using Barrie Transit is reminded to follow public health measures to keep everyone safe, including staying home when sick, wearing a mask in indoor public places, including on public transit, washing your hands frequently or using alcohol-based hand sanitizer, staying two metres apart from other riders when possible, and getting tested for COVID-19 if you have any symptoms.