ANOTHER coronavirus outbreak at the First Bus Larbert depot has forced the firm to close off communal areas.
The Falkirk Herald reported that 65 staff members are off work following the outbreak of the virus but the number hasn’t been confirmed by First Bus.
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The firm has confirmed that it has had to partially close the communal areas at the Stirling Road headquarters – following NHS guidance.
Mass testing is now being carried out on site to handle the current situation.
The outbreak at the depot happened earlier this month where eight staff tested positive – there has also been an outbreak at the Bannockburn depot and Caledonia depot which means the firm has had three separate outbreaks across Scottish depots.
David Phillips, Operations Director for First Midland confirmed that a number of staff from the Larbert depot were self-isolating.
He said: “The safety of our staff and customers is always our number one priority and since the first cases were identified on site, we have worked closely with NHS Forth Valley’s Public Health department to take all necessary additional steps to minimise the risk of a spread of the infection alongside the existing mitigations we already have in place.
“We are fully supporting our colleagues who have tested positive for this awful disease and wish them a speedy recovery.
“We also have a number of other teammates self-isolating due to close contact tracing procedures.
“We are also supporting people with tightened rules, more guidance and of course have made counselling available to all employees following the sad loss of our colleague Tommy Rooney.
“We have an excellent, open and transparent relationship with our Unite the Union representatives, who are fully supportive of the measures we have taken.
“We continue to work with the NHS Forth Valley Public Health team to ensure that we can continue to safely provide essential journeys to support communities and key workers across the region.
“In conjunction with the health professionals we have initiated a wide range of additional measures to try and minimise the spread of this horrible disease, including even more intensive and thorough daily cleans, revised PPE requirements and the partial closure of communal areas and amenities within the depot.
“We have conducted multiple rounds of asymptomatic testing on the advice of NHS Forth Valley and we are following any and all guidance provided, particularly reminding the whole team that the rules are there for their own protection and must not be broken.
“I would like to pay tribute to the whole team, who continue to work hard, and especially our fantastic staff out there on the frontline who are providing a lifeline to allow key workers to access their jobs in the most difficult of circumstances.”
Willie Johnstone the Unite Convener at First Midland said: “The Company have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic to ensure we were safe.
“The company has maintained regular contact with unite both before and after the pandemic ensuring we were aware of developments and actions being taken.
“The company have always been responsive to any feedback offered and I am supportive of the actions taken by the company to date.
“This new strain and the amount of Covid in the local area has got in to the depot and thankfully all the changes and reminding people of the rules is having a positive impact – the number of cases are coming down and the number of people testing positive is dropping.
“We just want to get through this crisis and get back to providing services people can rely on as we have always done.”
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