BC Ferries spoke out on Friday after a number of employees at its Horseshoe Bay West Vancouver terminal tested positive for COVID-19, confirming the company had “experienced employee-to-employee transmission” of the coronavirus.
A spokesperson for BC Ferries wished affected employees “a quick and safe recovery,” saying Vancouver is awesome in a statement that he is working with public health authorities to conduct contact tracing.
According to the company, health officials in British Columbia have confirmed that the risk to the general public is very low, “because the employees do not have close contact with the public.”
The statement continued, “We have performed a thorough cleaning of our employee areas at the terminal and all shared vehicles. BC Ferries continues to follow COVID-19 protocols, including increased cleaning at terminals and aboard our ships, mandatory masks, and encouraging customers to stay in their vehicles whenever possible to ensure that customers traveling for essential reasons can continue to do so in complete safety. ”
News of the cluster comes a day after the union representing B.C. ferry workers responded to reports that ferry workers would not be included among employees who will receive the first AstraZeneca supplemental vaccine, a decision has been made. by Dr. Bonnie Henry, Provincial Health Officer.
Our union president, Graeme Johnston, has expressed his deep disappointment to the provincial government, saying it seems wrong that our members’ diligence and efforts to minimize COVID-19 outbreaks are being used to support the postponement of our priority. in terms of vaccines compared to other companies and sectors that are receiving immunization supplies due to their [occupational health and safety] performance, ”wrote Jack Bruckman, executive director of the BC Ferry & Marine Workers ‘Union, in a members’ newsletter.
Bruckman added that British Columbia Transportation Minister Rob Fleming had contacted the union with his pledge “to fight for ferry workers and other transportation workers as a priority for COVID-19 vaccines.” and said the union was reaching out to the province with its demand that ferry workers be considered essential workers in BC’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution strategy.
In a statement, BC Ferries said it understands the BC provincial health worker “faces tough choices.”
“We recognize that decisions are made scientifically and based on evidence,” the statement continued. “We are delighted with the recent decision to include some of our crew living aboard a northern vessel to be placed on the priority list. We thank the OPS and the government for their timely attention to this issue. ”
BC Ferries said that while it continues to work closely with the province “to assess all options for vaccinating other groups within BC Ferries, particularly those working in remote areas,” it adds. that “the health and safety of our employees and all British Columbians is our primary concern.
“We believe this decision recognizes that BC Ferries is a low risk site. BC Ferries workers continue to do an exceptional job of managing the COVID-19 pandemic, while keeping essential goods and services moving to coastal communities in British Columbia. Their hard work has helped keep British Columbians safe. We are proud of the efforts of our employees and thank them for their continued dedication and service during the pandemic. ”