The ATU takes seriously all threats to our members and the riding public and stands ready to assist in dealing with the coronavirus outbreak.
ATU members interact with the public daily and are at a heightened risk of contracting the coronavirus and other communicable diseases. This requires that we be vigilant, be prepared and come together, avoid panicking and resorting to fear mongering.
Joint letter of TransLink
BC Renal and PICNet to HandyDART bus drivers
As public service organizations, we understand the demanding environment that HandyDART bus drivers operate in on a daily basis. The challenges of day-to-day work for HandyDART staff have increased substantially with the recent global coronavirus pandemic and the spread of COVID-19 infections in British Columbia.
One of the most vulnerable groups that rely on HandyDART for transportation are patients with chronic kidney disease who require facility-based hemodialysis (HD) and who may not have alternative means of transportation or immediate family to help them get to and from treatments. These patients typically travel by HandyDART an average of 3 times per week for their life-sustaining HD appointments at a local hemodialysis facility – a hospital or a community dialysis unit.
By the nature of their disease, hemodialysis patients benefit from one of the closest and strongest relationships, and frequent in-person interactions, with their clinical care team, and are consequently among the best cared-for patient groups. HD patients receive routine assessments every time they come to their dialysis appointments, an average of 3 times per week, including mandatory screening for COVID-19 symptoms and risk factors. All HD patients who have symptoms of respiratory illness get tested for the COVID-19 virus and remain under close observation of their care team, with very clear instructions of how to behave in public and at home.
However, recognizing the very close, repeated and frequent involvement of HandyDART with the HD patient population across BC, TransLink has teamed up with the BC Renal Network and the Provincial Infection Control Network (PICNet) to develop a sustainable and practical solution that would further protect the safety and health of our drivers, while ensuring a safe, reliable and ongoing transportation service for BC’s HD patients to attend life-sustaining treatments.
The focus of our joint work will be on driver protection and the safety of drivers and patients, which will include ensuring that drivers have all the required personal protective equipment, related training and support to provide a secure and sustainable service.
As we are working toward this longer-term solution, we wanted to express our gratitude to the HandyDART drivers for their continued dedication and support to the HD patients,whose life almost literally depends on the HandyDART staff day-to-day commitment and work. We will be unveiling more specific initiatives and measures over the coming days and weeks.
Thank you for your collaboration and dedication. Stay well!
On behalf of TransLink, BC Renal and PICNe
Covid-19 symptoms are similar to those of influenza (for example, fever, cough and shortness of breath), and the current outbreak is occurring during a season when respiratory illnesses from influenza and other viruses are prevalent. Symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure. The CDC and others report that people who are most at risk are either people over age 65 with weakened immune systems due to age, or who have underlying chronic diseases.
Prevention for ATU Members:
There are steps that members can and should take in order to reduce their risk of contracting and transmitting the coronavirus:Wash hands often using soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
Use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
Avoid touching eyes, noses, and mouths with unwashed hands.
Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
Cough and sneeze into elbow or tissues, not hands. After coughs and sneezes, tissues should be immediately thrown away and hands washed or sanitized.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces such as steering wheels, mobile phones and keyboards.
If members have concerns about contamination, they should report their concern to the employer and immediately visit their medical practitioner for proper testing and treatment.
Stay home when you are sick
Use current sources for up-to-date information, travel advisories and other updates:
- BC Centre for Disease Control https://covid-19.bccdc.ca/
- Fraser Health https://fraserhealth.ca/covid19
- Public Health Agency of Canada https://canada.ca/en/public-health 1-833-784-4397
- Non-medical Covid-19 questions: 1-888-COVID-19 or text 604-630-0300
- Call your family physician
- No family physician? Call 8-1-1