4 Community Transit drivers test positive for COVID-19
All busses will be fare free starting Friday, March 20 at 5 a.m.
Last updated 3/23/2020 at 4:03pm
We have received notification from four individual coach operators that their health care providers have informed them that they have tested presumptive positive for COVID-19," said Community Transit CEO Emmett Heath.
The Snohomish Health District confirmed that the employees tested positive Thursday, March 19.
The employees notified CT on separate days and, based on schedules worked, it does not appear that the cases are directly related, Heath said.
"The health district has assigned a disease investigator and is looking at any potential close contact they may have had, which the health district defines as spending 10 or more minutes within 6 feet of an individual," Heath said in a news release.
"In the event public health determines anyone was in close contact with these individuals, we will support them in the notification process. Public health officials have advised the agency that given the high number of cases in our region, that they may or may not be connected to our work environment."
Each of the four employees self-quarantined for several days before notifying CT, following the recommendations of staying home at the first sign of symptoms.
Because of this, it has been five 13 days since each individual has been at work.
Effective at 5 a.m. on Friday, March 20, and until further notice, Community Transit will be implementing the following policy changes for public health and employee safety:
– All Community Transit buses will be fare-free.
– All Community Transit buses will board and exit through the rear doors only. The front door will remain accessible for ADA customers only. The front 10 feet of all buses will be available for bus drivers and ADA customers only.
"These changes will help ensure that our drivers remain safe and healthy and better able to practice social distancing as advised by our public health professionals," Heath said.
"I want to reiterate with you that, throughout the growth of this pandemic, our number one focus has been on employee and customer health and safety. We have followed closely the guidance from the Snohomish Health District and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to address limiting the spread of COVID-19."
The Snohomish Health District has advised against Community Transit shutting down operations, but to continue with its disinfecting programs, promotion of good hygiene practices, social distancing, and any other recommendations we receive in the days and weeks ahead.