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How TransLink is stepping up cleaning to prevent COVID-19 transmission

TransLink crews spray a bus with disinfectant. The transit authority says buses are now getting a weekly spray, along with regular cleaning. TransLink

TransLink says it is stepping up its cleaning procedures amid growing concern about the spread of COVID-19.

B.C. health officials confirmed Canada’s first case of community transmission of the virus Thursday in the Vancouver Coastal Health region.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie acknowledged that “there’s likely at least one other person out there who has had this disease.”

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TransLink spokesperson Ben Murphy said crews had ramped up procedures for cleaning buses this week.

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Instead of getting a monthly full spray-down with disinfectant, buses are now getting a weekly treatment.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Canadian transit providers plan safeguards against COVID-19 outbreak

“It’s quite a strong disinfectant product we use, it’s called Decon7, and that’s a product that’s now being sprayed onto the buses every week, in addition to daily cleaning schedules which also occur,” he said.

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SeaBus is getting the same treatment as buses, Murphy said, while surfaces such as handrails, escalators and Compass vending machines in transit stations a daily disinfectant wipe-down.

Murphy said SkyTrain cars are getting all surfaces wiped down with a disinfectant daily.

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“They typically clean thoroughly and disinfect 80 per cent of the fleet every night and the other 20 per cent is spot cleaned, we’ve now shifted that to be 100 per cent of the fleet getting that thorough clean and disinfect every night,” said Murphy.

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However, Murphy said with the transit system moving half a million people every day, TransLink is advising the public to stay home if they’re feeling ill and to follow health officials’ advice regarding hygiene and hand washing.

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“If people are feeling unwell avoid large crowds, large groups, and of course that does include public transit,” said Murphy.

Murphy said the transit authority was following health officials’ lead on sanitization and would keep the measures in place until they were no longer deemed necessary.

B.C. has so far identified 21 cases of COVID-19. Four of those people have since fully recovered, while one is in the ICU at Vancouver General Hospital.

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