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Halifax bus service fully operational despite earlier warning of staffing issue

Halifax Transit case of COVID-19 no risk to the public, says health officials
WATCH: Public health officials are assuring people that there are no risks with riding Halifax Transit due to an employee testing positive for COVID-19 at the Burnside Maintenance Depot. Alexa MacLean has more.

Halifax Transit is back in full service less than 24 hours after announcing service would be “significantly impacted” due to staffing issues.

“Based on current staff availability, Halifax Transit anticipates that conventional bus service will be significantly impacted at the start of service tomorrow, March 27,” a press release reads.

At the time, Halifax Transit said travellers should expect route delays or cancellations, and riders were encouraged to make alternate plans.

But on Friday, Halifax Transit said “an incredible effort” from the maintenance shop, its operators, and the operations team is allowing them to operate at full service.

READ MORE: Halifax Transit employee tests positive for COVID-19

The staffing shortage comes less than a day after the municipality confirmed that a Halifax Transit employee working in the Burnside Maintenance Department tested positive for COVID-19.

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According to a notice sent to Halifax Transit staff from director Dave Reage, the agency learned of the positive case Wednesday. All maintenance staff on the evening shift were sent home, while staff scheduled to work Thursday morning were told not to come in.

Reage told Global News that Halifax Transit has been in contact with Public Health and will take direction on their next steps.

Halifax Transit union wants safety concerns addressed
Halifax Transit union wants safety concerns addressed

He said Public Health has already been in contact with the employee and identified any close contacts.

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On Thursday, chief public health officer Dr. Robert Strang said the source of exposure did not involve riding on a bus, so there’s no increase risk to the public or bus drivers.

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are legally obligated to self-isolate for 14 days, beginning March 26, in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others. Some provinces and territories have also implemented additional recommendations or enforcement measures to ensure those returning to the area self-isolate.

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

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To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.