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Winnipeg Transit takes buses out of service after driver has flu-like symptoms

Winnipeg Transit union makes call for hand sanitizer
John Callahan of the Amalgamated Transit Union in Winnipeg makes a plea to the public to donate hand sanitizer for its members.

This story has been updated

A number of Winnipeg Transit buses at the Fort Rouge transit garage were blocked off with caution tape over the doors Thursday morning.

The buses were sequestered due to concerns over COVID-19 contamination, according to a transit employee and the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1505, the union that represents transit workers.

A bus driver was exhibiting flu-like symptoms, the ATU’s local president Romeo Ignacio said. The buses he had driven will now be disinfected, Ignacio said. The driver is no longer at work and won’t return until he is tested for COVID-19 — at this point, the union does not know what the driver’s illness is.

Last night, one bus driver told Winnipeg Transit’s control centre he was exhibiting flu-like symptoms, the transit authority said in a statement.

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“The operator was immediately advised to stop driving the bus. The operator remains at home in self-isolation,” Winnipeg Transit wrote in an emailed statement.

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“Out of an abundance of caution, the buses that the operator came into contact with over the last two days were immediately taken out of service and will be thoroughly disinfected prior to being released back into service.”

The authority notes staff will disinfect the bus using a hospital-grade disinfectant while wearing personal protective equipment. That will include wiping down all high-touch points on the bus, including the driver’s compartment.

Images provided by the union and the employee show at least two buses closed off with tape.

READ MORE: Winnipeg Transit to begin disinfecting city buses Saturday

Another image shows a handwritten sign scrawled with “COVID-19” taped to the window of a bus inside of the transit garage.

A handwritten sign scrawled with “COVID-19” on a Winnipeg Transit bus.
A handwritten sign scrawled with “COVID-19” on a Winnipeg Transit bus. SUPPLIED

At least two buses were parked outside at Winnipeg Transit’s headquarters, marked with tape, a Global News reporter observed.

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Multiple buses were driven through the lot by transit workers wearing N-95 masks.

Winnipeg Transit began disinfecting city buses last weekend after the first COVID-19 cases were confirmed in Winnipeg.