METRO Systems Specialist and Second Bus Operator Test Positive for COVID-19
HOUSTON, TX -- Two more METRO employees have tested positive for the coronavirus COVID-19. We received confirmation of the positive results for both employees today, March 31.
The first employee works as an electronic revenue systems specialist, assigned to a METRO radio command center to monitor radios and fare collection systems, and had no interaction with the public. That employee was last on the job March 19.
The second employee is a bus operator who was last on the job March 12. The bus operator drove the 7 West Airport route March 9-12 from 5 a.m. to 2:13 p.m.
This follows the notification issued by METRO Sunday, March 29 of a METROLift dispatcher and another bus operator who tested positive. The dispatcher was last on the job March 26 and does not interact with the public.
The first bus operator was last on the job March 25 and drove the 412 Greenlink Circulator route from 6 a.m. until 2:17 p.m. on the following days; March 9-13, March 16-20 and 23. The operator also drove the 247 Fuqua Park & Ride from 6:18 a.m. to 9:17 a.m. on March 24 and 25.
Anyone riding the routes driven by either operator within 14 days of the time frame in which they worked 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 rode the bus on these routes in the last 14 days.
METRO has enhanced the cleaning and disinfecting of its buses. The buses used for the routes driven by the drivers who have tested positive have also been temporarily removed from service for additional sanitation. Since March 20th, METRO has sought to minimize the likelihood of COVID-19 transmission by an operator or passengers by encouraging social distancing on its buses (tags have been placed on bus and rail to reduce the number of available seats by 50 percent) and adding vehicles on heavily traveled routes so that this can be accomplished.
On March 23, we instituted back-door boarding, and temporarily suspended collecting fares to avoid unnecessary contacts.
We appreciate and greatly value our riders. However, we are working with the community at large to “flatten the curve” of the COVID-19 virus. 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 twenty 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 board buses only from the back door, and stand or sit no closer than six feet behind the driver. METRO has temporarily suspended fares to prevent unnecessary touches and contacts. Together, we will stop COVID-19.
METRO’s number one priority is protecting the health and safety of our customers, community and employees.
METRO’s thoughts are with these employees and their families, as they are with everyone affected by COVID-19. We thank our customers and employees for helping us navigate through this challenging time as safely as possible.