HOUSTON - Two METRO employees have tested positive for the coronavirus COVID-19. METRO received confirmation of the positive results for both employees on Sunday.
A METRO bus operator and a METROLift dispatcher were tested positive for coronavirus.
The first employee works in the METROLift dispatch area and was last on the job on March 26. This employee does not interact with the public. The second employee is a bus operator and was last on the job on March 25.
The bus operator drove the 412 Greenlink Circulator route from 6 a.m. until 2:17 p.m. on the following days; March 9,10, 11,12, 13, 16, 17,18,19, 20, and 23. The operator also drove 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 the operator in the last 14 days 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 driver who has tested positive have also been temporarily removed from service for additional sanitation. Since March 20, 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, METRO instituted back-door boarding, and temporarily suspended collecting fares to avoid unnecessary contacts.
METRO says they appreciate and greatly value their riders, and they 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.
"METRO’s number one priority is protecting the health and safety of our customers, community and employees," METRO said in a release. "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."