VIA Rail Employee Tests Positive for COVID-19

In National

A message from Cynthia Garneau, President and Chief Executive Officer, VIA Rail Canada.

First and foremost, I want to thank all of VIA Rail’s frontline staff that are working to ensure continuity of our essential public service to Canadians in these difficult and unprecedented times.

Complying with guidance from authorities, including from Health Canada and our healthcare professionals, VIA Rail continues to follow and deploy proper protocols to keep its passengers and employees safe.

We have recently been informed that one of our employees, who worked in the Québec City-Windsor Corridor has tested positive for Coronavirus (COVID-19). The employee worked on March 14 and 15 (on-board trains 61-44-643-68) and did not show any symptoms.

The employee started experiencing symptoms on March 18, phoned health authorities on March 20 and was tested on March 21. VIA Rail received confirmation of the employee testing positive for COVID-19 on March 23. The employee did not report to work at any time while experiencing symptoms.

The employee is being monitored by public health authorities, is in isolation and VIA Rail continues to follow-up directly, hoping for a prompt recovery. All our thoughts are with our colleague.

All employees and crews that could have been potentially exposed have been contacted. Although possible exposure remains minimal, we have made sure that all our employees and crews were notified as soon as we were made aware of the situation, and we will remain in contact with them through the following weeks. We continue to contact passengers who might have been in direct or indirect contact with our employee.

In order to ensure their safety and to respond to the concerns of our passengers and employees, we continue to follow specific measures to combat the spread of COVID-19, which include:

• A procedure that plans for the isolation of employees meeting certain specific criteria (for example: returning from a trip outside of Canada, showing signs and symptoms of a contagious respiratory illness such as COVID-19, having been in contact with someone who has signs and symptoms of a contagious respiratory illness, etc.);

• A procedure detailing the measures to be taken by the organization in the event of the proven presence of an infected person in any our establishments, including on board our trains;

• Enhanced cleaning protocols on board our trains and in our stations;

• Measures to ensure the best possible social distancing on board our trains.

At VIA Rail, we constantly remind our passengers and employees of the importance of following the recommendations of the public health authorities, to stay at home, avoid non-essential travel, practice social distancing as much as possible, and to strictly follow good hygiene practices (wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, cough or sneeze into a tissue or the bend of their arm, avoid touching their eyes, nose or mouth without first washing their hands).

With the health and safety of our employees and passengers remaining our top priority during this difficult time, please be assured that VIA Rail will remain proactive in its communication throughout the evolution of this exceptional situation.

Take care of yourself and your loved ones.

Pete Fisher
Author: Pete Fisher

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