Source:Daily Gleaner (April 01, 2020)
Adam Bowie | The Daily Gleaner
A part-time driver with Fredericton’s Checker Cab company tested positive for COVID-19 days after picking up a virus-positive passenger from the city’s airport.
Anne Mooers, a spokeswoman for the Department of Health, confirmed the details Wednesday.
“Public Health has been working with the cab company to identify anyone who had been in close contact with the driver,” she said.
Cab company co-owner Patrick Tahan said officials informed the company on either March 20 or 21 the passenger had arrived back from a Sunwing vacation.
“Everybody on the plane was notified. We notified all our customers as well. As a precaution, [the driver] hasn’t worked since,” he said.
Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Jennifer Russell previously reported a passenger on Sunwing Flight 169 from Punta Cana to Fredericton on March 18 later tested positive for COVID-19.
So far, the company has not heard of anyone in contact with the driver reporting any illness, Tahan said.
Co-owner George Youssef said the cab company’s new app for passengers needing rides is also ideal at keeping records of riders, so anyone who had contact with the driver has been notified.
He said his drivers are taking special precautions while on the job – sanitizing surfaces after every passenger to minimize the risk of transmission.
“They have a spray bottle. They have gloves. They’re wearing masks. We’re wiping down the machine before anybody uses it. I’ve asked all the drivers to do it in front of the customer, so that they’re not afraid to get into the car,” he said.
“We’re doing what we need to do to keep not only the customers safe, but also my drivers safe.”
He said cab companies are among those who have taken a hit to their bottoms lines, while trying to provide a service during the pandemic at risk to their own health.
“Considering everything, I think we’re very, very lucky [there haven’t been other cases],” said Youssef. “I hope we can stay open … This is an emergency service for people. I’m losing money by staying open, but we have to stay open.”
Tahan said the driver is now “almost cleared” of symptoms.