The construction company building the Eglinton Crosstown LRT across Toronto is reporting three workers have been diagnosed with, or are considered presumptive cases of, COVID-19.
Kristin Jenkins, a spokesperson for Crosslinx Transit Solutions, told Global News in a statement that the workers are based out of the west portal site east of Black Creek Drive and Eglinton Avenue West. A worker tested positive while two others are waiting for official confirmation from the national testing lab.
She said all of those affected are at home in self-isolation for two weeks.
“Crosslinx is talking to Toronto Public Health and following their recommendations,” Jenkins said.
“We are notifying all the people who may have been in contact with the workers and providing them with information on what they need to do based on the advice from Toronto Public Health.”
She said the office at the worksite was closed for deep cleaning, adding regular cleaning has been increased at all Eglinton Crosstown sites and offices.
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Jenkins said other measures have been put in place in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, including a ban on visitors at project sites, a 14-day stay-at-home policy for those returning from international travel and staggering work breaks and shift changes.
“We are monitoring the return to work of anyone who is sick or is self-isolating,” she wrote.
“Crosslinx continues to ask people to stay home if they are sick and to report to their supervisor if they become unwell at work.”
Metrolinx spokesperson Anne Marie Aikins said the transit agency is aware of the situation.
“There is a clear expectation with all of our contractors that they take measures to ensure the health and safety of all of their workers at all times but even more importantly during the COVID pandemic,” she said in a statement.
“If contractors cannot fully maintain safety including social distancing they can not remain open.”
News of the positive cases comes amid recent questions about the safety of construction workers on construction sites.
The Ontario Construction Consortium, a group that advocates for construction workers, on Tuesday called on the Ontario government to suspend work on construction sites for two weeks to protect workers.
“It makes no sense that you can’t have your neighbour over for a cup of coffee yet construction sites are expected to continue operations,” executive director Phil Gillies said in a statement.
The group’s call comes after Premier Doug Ford deemed much of the construction industry as an essential service and exempt from a forced business shutdown.
The province’s decision is in contrast to Quebec, which on Monday suspended all construction activity except for emergency or security services.
On Tuesday, Ford said he was in conversation with construction companies and said he would consider closure orders if there weren’t improved sanitation measures at worksites.
As of Wednesday morning, the Ontario government said there were 671 active cases of COVID-19 in the province. Nine Ontario residents have died and eight cases have been resolved.
— With files from The Canadian Press
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