Riders on four different GO trips urged to get COVID-19 test after commuter screens positive for variant
Published Thursday, February 18, 2021 5:23PM EST
Last Updated Thursday, February 18, 2021 5:58PM EST
Travellers on four different trips on the Barrie GO line earlier this month are being urged to get tested for COVID-19 after a commuter screened positive for a variant of concern.
York Region Public Health says that the individual took a total of four trips between Rutherford Station and Union Station on Feb. 9 and Feb. 10.
While the individual wore a mask at the time and was asymptomatic, officials say that a public notification is “warranted” due to new provincial guidance around variants of concern.
Anyone who rode the following GO Train routes is being encourage to seek out a COVID-19 test, even if they are asymptomatic:
- Boarded 7:33 a.m. Southbound from Rutherford Station to Union Station with arrival at approximately 8 a.m. on Feb. 9
- Boarded 5:05 p.m. Northbound from Union Station to Rutherford station with arrival at approximately 5:40 p.m. on Feb. 9
- Boarded 7:33 a.m. Southbound from Rutherford Station to Union Station with arrival at approximately 8 a.m. on Feb. 10
- Boarded 5:05 p.m. Northbound from Union Station to Rutherford Station with arrival at approximately 5:40 p.m. on Feb. 10
Dr. Karim Kurji, York Region's medical officer of health, said it is an unfortunate situation.
"Given that there were a few individuals that were identified as being potentially close contacts, it is important for folks who have been on the train, even though they may be asymptomatic, to seek testing," Kurji said.
"These sorts of situations will happen, but because of the fact that the individual has the variant, which is highly transmissible, we are taking this additional precaution of having a public notice."
Metrolinx spokesperson Anne Marie Aikins estimates that the morning trains had about 150 to 157 people while the evening trains had around 100 people each.
"As soon as we learned this morning, we started to communicate with our staff, as well as any contractors that are there and prepared for customer communications as well," Aikins said.
"We made a commitment to public health and to our customers that we will do our very best to keep them informed when these issues come up."
She said they are reaching out to passengers on those trains to advise them to get tested as recommended by public health officials.
"We're dealing with a fewer people. It gives them lots of room to spread out. And in addition, there are glass panels in between each customer on those trains," Aikins said.
"Those trains are cleaned at least twice a day…So, we're hoping that it didn't spread to anyone."
Ontario has now confirmed 359 cases that involve COVID-19 variants but hundreds of additional cases have screened positive for a variant and are undergoing additional testing.
The head of Ontario’s science table has also suggested that the B.1.1.7 variant, which is believed to be at least 50 per cent more infections, will become the dominant strain in the province by March.
“In the past when you have activity around a person if it was old COVID you may have gotten away with it but with the new variants of concern the rate of transmission is so high,” Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams said during a briefing on Thursday.