Blackwater mine bus driver's insight into COVID-19 crisis
MINE bus driver Gregory Atkinson was among the cars trickling through the fever clinic at Blackwater Rodeo Grounds on Friday.
Mr Atkinson, who is based at Blackwater, does bus trips from Blackwater mine, taking workers to the mine and camp and picking them up from Rockhampton Airport and around town and Yeppoon.
Given his job, Mr Atkinson opted to get tested for COVID-19.
"Just in case, I do carry a lot of people on the bus and you just can't be too careful," he said.
What he didn't realise is however, you can't go to work until your test results have come back - and he was due to go on shift that afternoon.
Not too concerned, Mr Atkinson said he would come to the clinic in the next few days when he could plan it with some days.
He did comment the "stringent procedures" his work has in place with keeping the buses sanitised.
The bus driver has to get off the bus when people get on and after each trip he bleaches throughout the buses including seats and wipes everything down.
They also have to write down the names and details of each passenger.
"They have done a good job of setting things up safety wise," Mr Atkinson said.
There is also social distancing in place with only 23 passengers on the bus, when they would normally take 48 passengers.
While many people have been out of a job, this has led to more work for Mr Atkinson as they have had to run more buses.
"They have buses coming from everywhere to keep up with demand," he said.
While Blackwater miner Nathan Turner's death and positive test to COVID-19 last week has raised concerns in the town, Mr Atkinson has faith that medical staff have the situation well handled.
"They seem to controlling things pretty well so hopefully there won't be more cases," he said.
"I think everything is tight at the moment, they are doing a good job."
It is concerning however there a lot of workers that travel to the mining community from out of town for work.
"There's a lot of people that come in and out of Blackwaters it's not just BHP, it's all the mines," Mr Atkinson said.