Crosslinx confirms 28 COVID-19 cases at LRT station construction in Toronto

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TORONTO — COVID-19 has hit a major transit project in Toronto, the company in charge said on Wednesday.

At least 28 workers have tested positive for COVID-19 and another 70 are currently in isolation, according to Crosslinx Transit Solutions.

The cases are linked to employees and subcontractors at eight sites of the Eglinton Crosstown LRT, A Crosslinx spokeswoman said.

Around 17 of the positive cases were community-acquired. Another 10 people were infected at work and one case is undetermined, Kristin Jenkins said.

Crosslinx has started issuing formal written notices to workers not adhering to COVID-19 guidelines, Jenkins said.

"While the majority of workers are complying, we know some aren’t," she said in a statement.

None of the work sites has been shut down due to the outbreak, although some sites have experienced disruptions because of absent workers, she added.

A total of 65 workers at Crosslinx construction sites have tested positive since March, the company said.

Metrolinx and Infrastructure Ontario awarded Crosslinx the contract to build the LRT in 2015.

In a statement, Metrolinx said it is relying on Crosslinx to ensure appropriate employee protections are in place to minimize COVID-19 transmission.

"Hoping for a full recovery for all Crosslinx workers," Metrolinx spokeswoman Anne Marie Aikins wrote on Twitter.

In October, Crosslinx took the provincial government to court over alleged pandemic-related delays and cost overruns with the project.

"We took the extraordinary step of initiating legal action against Metrolinx and Infrastructure Ontario in response to their refusal to declare COVID-19 an emergency and recognize the significant impacts the global pandemic is having on LRT construction," Crosslinx said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 7, 2021.

This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

Denise Paglinawan, The Canadian Press