3 workers test positive for COVID-19 at Toronto construction site
It looks like Toronto will be waiting even longer than expected for its already long-delayed Eglinton Crosstown LRT thanks to a coronavirus outbreak at one of the project's work sites.
One worker at a Crosslinx Transit Solutions construction site near Black Creek Drive and Eglinton Avenue is confirmed to have contracted COVID-19 in the midst of a global pandemic outbreak, according to CP24.
Two additional workers are presumed positive for the virus and are awaiting confirmation from the federal government's National Microbiology Lab.
It's something that many in the city had feared would happen, sooner or later, as construction has been permitted to continue on all public, industrial, commercial, instructional and residential sector projects despite a state of emergency being declared in both Ontario and the city of Toronto.
Shut. Construction. Sites. Down. @fordnation The Eglinton Crosstown won’t be finished for years & construction on it during a pandemic is reckless. A delay that protects workers and their families is necessary. https://t.co/MlqfHsD8kt— C-Wolf-Run (@CharlotteWolf) March 25, 2020
"Our thoughts are with the workers and their families," said Crosslinx in an email to CP24 of the infected employees, who are said to have worked in the office at the project's West Portal site.
The consortium says it is notifying anyone who may have come into contact with the workers, and that the site's office has been closed for deep cleaning. It is expected to reopen Monday.
Concerned Ontario residents are once again calling upon Premier Doug Ford — who on Monday night declared construction an "essential" service — to shut down work sites while a state of emergency remains in effect.
@fordnation due to a positive covid-19 diagnosis we found out about today West portal at the Crosslinx site is contaminated. CLOSE DOWN construction sites you clown!!!!!! Oh and the cherry on top is that Crosslinx knew this person had symptoms on March 11. Absolutely disgusting— Anthony Pic (@A_Picariello88) March 24, 2020
Workers, their families and members of the public alike are growing increasingly worried about the number of densely-packed construction sites still operating throughout the city, especially given what appear to be lax cleanliness and hygiene standards.
Ford did call upon Toronto construction companies to remedy the "unacceptable" conditions of some work sites during a press conference earlier this week, imploring them to "get your act together and take care of your frontline construction workers."
Still, nothing has been done to stop the many daily gatherings of more than 50 people for construction projects many see as less-than-essential to the functioning of society, such as new condo builds.
This is a pic from a construction site in Toronto this morning. How is @fordnation keeping these guys safe? Many sites don’t even have places for workers to properly wash their hands. And social distancing!? Nearly impossible. pic.twitter.com/OlXLYuccr4— Rachel McMullen (@RachelMcMullen6) March 24, 2020
As of Wednesday morning, nearly 23,000 people had signed a petition calling upon Ford to close all construction sites in light of the pandemic.
"I work in construction, downtown Toronto," wrote one Twitter user to Ford directly on Twitter Wednesday morning.
"The toilets have no soap or sanitizer of any kind for two weeks now. No water no sanitizer. I've stopped showing up for work. Nobody says anything nobody takes responsibility and neither do you."
"Why are your construction sites still open with thousands of workers interacting? This will only exacerbate the spread of coronavirus," tweeted another local to the major real estate developer Tridel, Toronto Mayor John Tory and Toronto Public Health. "Please do something."
As of March 25, the provincial government is reporting 688 confirmed cases of the 2019 novel coronavirus within Ontario — up 100 cases over the day previous.
The city of Toronto, specifically, is currently reporting 280 cases of COVID-19 with one death and five recoveries recorded to date.
All city residents are being asked by public health officials to stay at home when at all possible in an attempt to slow the spread of the deadly virus, which to date has infected 372,757 people and killed more than 16,000 around the world.
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