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Coronavirus: OC Transpo bus driver tests positive for COVID-19

An out of service OC Transpo bus is seen at Carleton University.
An out of service OC Transpo bus is seen at Carleton University. Nick Westoll / File / Global News

An OC Transpo bus driver has tested positive for COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus, the head of Ottawa’s public transit agency said Wednesday.

The unidentified employee developed symptoms on March 20 and got tested the next day, John Manconi wrote in a memo to members of Ottawa city council and the city’s transit commission.

Coronavirus outbreak: Ontario hopes to ramp up COVID-19 testing to 15,000 per day
Coronavirus outbreak: Ontario hopes to ramp up COVID-19 testing to 15,000 per day

The driver has been self-isolating at home since the onset of their symptoms and continues to do so, according to Manconi.

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OC Transpo is working with Ottawa Public Health to identify any people who may have been in close contact with the transit operator, focusing on the period of March 18 to March 20, the memo said.

Operator drove 5 buses on ‘key dates’ before test

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The employee drove five buses serving several different routes on those three days Manconi said.

Those buses have been removed from service and will undergo “a deep clean and full sanitization” before they’re put back on the roads.

READ MORE: Guards at Ottawa jail refuse to work over lack of COVID-19 screening protocols

Earlier that same week, OC Transpo made changes to increase the separation between bus drivers and passengers, according to an earlier memo from Manconi.

As of March 16, the transit agency installed yellow caution tape on its buses to separate the drivers’ cabs and the accessible seating areas from the rear of the bus and has since had the majority of passengers board through the rear doors of  the bus.

Yellow caution tape separates the driver’s cab and the accessible seating area on an OC Transpo bus from the rear area of the vehicle.
Yellow caution tape separates the driver’s cab and the accessible seating area on an OC Transpo bus from the rear area of the vehicle. Crystal Oag / Global News

Transit riders who are concerned they may have been exposed on any of the following routes the ill employee drove are asked to contact Ottawa Public Health at 613-580-6744 or visit the health agency’s website.

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March 18

  • Route 19: St-Laurent Station at 14:27 to Parliament Station 15:14
  • Route 63: Tunney’s Pasture Station 15:36 to Innovation Park & Ride 16:28
  • Route 63: Innovation Park & Ride 16:30 to Tunney’s Pasture Station 17:12
  • Route 57: Tunney’s Pasture Station 17:25 to Bayshore Station 17:47
  • Route 85: Bayshore Station 17:47 to Terrasses de la Chaudière 18:39
  • Route 85: Terrasses de la Chaudière 18:50 to Bayshore Station 19:36
  • Route 85: Bayshore Station 19:41 to Terrasses de la Chaudière 20:23

March 19 and March 20

  • Route 64: Lincoln Fields Station 11:24 to Innovation Park & Ride 11:51
  • Route 64: Innovation Park & Ride 11:53 to Tunney’s Pasture Station 12:41
  • Route 50: Tunney’s Pasture Station 12:55 to Lincoln Fields Station 13:24
  • Route 85: Lincoln Fields Station 13:44 to Terrasses de la Chaudière 14:20
  • Route 85: Terrasses de la Chaudière 14:26 to Bayshore Station 15:23
  • Route 85: Bayshore Station 15:32 to Terrasses de la Chaudière 16:25
  • Route 85: Terrasses de la Chaudière 16:32 to Bayshore Station 17:30
  • Route 57: Bayshore Station 17:42 to Tunney’s Pasture Station 18:08
  • Route 75: Tunney’s Pasture Station 18:15 to Barrhaven Centre 18:42

READ MORE: Public health unit reports Ottawa’s 3rd COVID-19-related death

The public health unit said Tuesday there are 144 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the city, including outbreaks at three retirement homes and one long-term care facility.

Three people in their 80s and 90s who contracted the virus have died. Two of them lived at the same retirement residence in Orléans, the site of one of the outbreaks reported by the public health unit.

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