TORONTO — Metrolinx is looking to further enhance safety measures in response to COVID-19 at Toronto transit locations with a pilot study of environmental sampling, looking for the SARS-CoV-2 virus in air and on surfaces.
The pilot project started this week during Rail Safety Week.
Environmental sampling will consist of collecting air and surface swab samples from high traffic/high touch surfaces inside Union Station, the Union Station bus terminal, buses and trains to assess the effectiveness of existing COVID-19 control measures, indicates the Metrolinx blog.
After collection, the air and swab samples will be sealed and placed in a hard-sided cooler, kept at 2 C to 8 C and sent to an accredited laboratory to be analyzed.
While each of the samples won’t provide an indication of infectiousness, they should provide evidence if the genetic material of the virus was detected, adds the blog.
Results of the sampling campaign will be made available in the next few weeks.
Other transit agencies around the world are also looking at how testing can be used to help protect riders and workers. Transport for London in the U.K. performed regular environmental sampling on its network late last year and did not detect any SARS-CoV-2 material in any of the locations, the blog indicates. This year, Network Rail in the U.K. also performed air and surface sampling for the virus at four of its transit stations and found only negative results as well.