HOUSTON – A METRO bus operator has tested positive for COVID-19, the agency confirmed in a press release Saturday. The operator drove the No. 2 Bellaire route from 6 a.m. until 4:44 p.m. on March 9-11, 13, and 16-20.
Anyone riding the route driven by the operator within 14 days prior to the employee’s last day of work should monitor themselves for possible symptoms. If any symptoms develop, the rider should contact a health care provider and self-isolate to avoid possibly exposing others, including refraining from using public transportation, METRO advised.
“METRO is working with public health officials so they can identify and notify anyone who rode the bus on that route during that time frame,” the agency wrote in the release.
According to METRO, a total of 17 METRO employees and two contracts have contracted the virus, 7 of those had no contact with the public.
“METRO tracks and reports all positive cases among its workforce of more than 4200,” the agency wrote in the release. “We are also conducting temperature checks of employees before they begin their workday.”
Since mid-March, METRO has sought to minimize the likelihood of COVID-19 transmission by operators or passengers by encouraging social distancing. The agency temporarily suspended collecting fares to avoid unnecessary contacts on March 23.
Here is a statement released by METRO:
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, wear a facial covering while riding the system, 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 board buses only from the back door, and stand or sit no closer than six feet behind the driver.