METRO Operators and Contract Workers Among Latest COVID-19 Cases Release Date: Jan. 8, 2021 Media Hot Line: 713.739.4040 METRO Operators and

Style Magazine Newswire | 1/11/2021, 3:48 p.m.

METRO has received confirmation five bus operators, six other employees and two contract workers employed by First Transit have tested positive for COVID-19. This brings the total number of cases to 371 METRO employees and 79 contractors since March 2020.

One hundred seventy-two of the employees had no contact with the public. METRO tracks and reports all positive cases among its 4200 employees and the various contractors who provide services to METRO. We are also conducting temperature checks of employees and others before they begin their workday at METRO facilities or on our vehicles.

*The charts above reflect the days the operators were on duty two weeks prior to their last days on the job.

The other new cases include:

Four employees in the Operations Department who had no contact with the public and last worked between Dec. 26 and Jan. 7

An employee in the Communications Department who last worked Dec. 31 and had no contact with the public

An employee in the IT Department who has been working remotely since April

A First Transit contract worker who last worked Jan. 6 and had no contact with the public

Anyone who comes in contact with an individual who tests positive should monitor themselves for possible symptoms, contact your health care provider as soon as you develop any symptoms, and self-isolate to avoid possibly exposing others, including refraining from using public transportation.

METRO is working with public health officials so they can identify and notify anyone who traveled the routes driven by the bus operators during those time frames as well as anyone else who may have been impacted by the latest positive cases.

Since mid-March, 2020 METRO has sought to minimize the likelihood of COVID-19 transmission by operators or passengers by encouraging social distancing. On March 23, 2020 the agency temporarily suspended collecting fares to avoid unnecessary contacts. Shortly thereafter, orange mesh fencing was installed across the aisles of every local bus to assure appropriate distancing between operators and passengers.

More safety upgrades are also being added to ​buses, trains and METROLift vehicles. Operators and riders will now have access to hand sanitizer while on board and protective shields around drivers' seats will provide another layer of separation between operators and the public. Operators and riders are required to wear a face covering while on the system.

We appreciate and greatly value our riders. We have taken many actions, including working with the community at large, to “flatten the curve” of COVID-19. To prevent or minimize its transmission on the transit system, METRO asks all riders to use the system only for essential trips at this time, practice social distancing when you do ride transit (i.e., stand or sit at least 6 feet apart, as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control, wash your hands for 20 seconds before boarding transit and after deboarding, cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze, or cough or sneeze into your elbow, avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands, and stay home if you are sick). Additionally, riders should stand or sit no closer than six feet behind the driver.

METRO’s number one priority is protecting the health and safety of our customers, community and employees.