P.E.I. tells returning truck drivers to get Covid-19 tests, and isolate

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CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. – Prince Edward Island is telling its truck drivers to be tested for Covid-19 whenever they return to the province, under guidance from the province’s Chief Public Health Office, and also to isolate themselves.

When returning to the province, drivers and other rotating workers are being told to be tested within two days, within four to seven days, and within 10-12 days if still in the province.

In the first 14 days after returning home, they are being told to avoid public places, not visit or host people from outside their household, and not volunteer or work in places that involve contact with people from outside their household.

PEI Confederation Bridge
(Photo: iStock)

“You may interact with household members. Maintaining physical distance from household members is not necessary unless you become sick. If you develop symptoms at any time, you should go to a drop-in testing clinic and not wait until your next scheduled testing appointment,” says a memo distributed this morning by the Atlantic Provinces Trucking Association (APTA).

Permitted activities in the first 14 days after returning home include outdoor recreation in uncrowded settings, and no-contact grocery pickups.

“It’s too bad because truck drivers already live a pretty isolated lifestyle. Now they’re telling them to isolate even more,” says Colin Parsons, general manager of Seafood Express, a cross-border carrier that hauls food products. “I guess for the greater good of public health, I can understand.”

The province’s truck drivers have access to Covid-19 testing services at the Confederation Bridge. Although truck drivers face the challenge of driving back and forth to the testing facilities during their off-duty time, he says.

Given the restrictions, some drivers are choosing to stay out on the road as long as they can, he adds.

“It is what it is,” Parsons says. “We hope it doesn’t last forever.”

“At this time, all of PEI’s Covid cases have been linked to travel from outside of the Atlantic Provinces,” the memo says.

“Since you are home for limited periods of time in between your work, it is important that you see your family and have the freedom to enjoy the outdoors. With this freedom comes responsibility to protect yourself, your family and the P.E.I. community.”

  • This story has been updated to include comments from Seafood Express.
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John G. Smith is the editorial director of Newcom Media's trucking and supply chain publications -- including Today's Trucking, trucknews.com, TruckTech, Transport Routier, and Road Today. The award-winning journalist has covered the trucking industry since 1995.

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  • A little to much home for 60 hrs. And can’t go and do a little shopping. Have been getting tested weekly nothing has changed. Same old story not worried about the truckers just block us out.. park in Borden all of us for a couple of days and they would see..

  • Perhaps then , you can begin flying your supplies in or settle in for a long winter of eating potatoes
    You’re right Parson – It is what it is

  • Drivers are already isolated enough already. How does this work for a driver whom only gets a few days off and have kids in school? So does this means everytime a driver goes his/her kids should be tested too before returning to school/work?

  • This is a good idea to limit exposure to others Seafood express and every other companies that used cross border workers should make sure they have some where stay or any trucking company or airline will be fined a minimum of$10000 per case.

    • I have a suspicion that the comment above is made by someone that has never been involved in long haul trucking….

      • I have driven truck for almost 25 years bought my first truck used over 20 years ago
        My father still owns it and it had over 3 million km on it transmission rebuilt 3 times. I used to deliver L T L to new York City until I got fungus in my right foot. I am currently camped out in front of the insurance company head office in Goderich and living in the Homeless shelter in a church basement on the floor at night
        I still drive a medical van as volunteer.

  • I think bridge need to closed for 1-5 days…. blocked …. Just stop after toll station…and don’t move… small protest.

  • There is a reason why there hasn’t been many cases amongst truck drivers. They only come in contact with an average of 5 people a week as most eat in their trucks. Very small chance of a driver getting it and spreading it, yet the public thinks the driver should be secluded at home as well. It’s bad enough the drivers can’t even use a bathroom at most customers. They will be welcomed in to a back door at a grocery store or hospital but can’t come in the front door. Fear is the worst part of this pandemic. Maybe we should all park for a few months and collect cerb, and let the shelves empty out. As Mr Seafood Express says, it is what it is.

    • The gov in Ontario is not looking after truck drivers at this time. I do know if you can get C R B or C E R B but too many truck drivers getting sick in the U S and told to their own arrangements for transport and medical treatment.

  • At first we truck drivers had to isolate
    We were offered testing as an essential worker and we were able to come and go and do whatever when home as long as we got tested
    I get tested every week and I do travel outside the bubble as a truck driver now we have to isolate again…….alot doesn’t make sense

  • Too bad, we only get 36 hours to reset before we’re back out on the road. We wont be isolated forever. Screw you PEI. Time to move out of the province, they never cared for us anyways. Not even a single truck stop on the island.

  • Too bad the truckers of Atlantic Canada didn’t have a association to represent them Absolutely ridiculous how these men and ladies are treated. Shut things down for a couple days and see how quickly they become essential workers again.