The following is a media release.
BOSTON – Following three confirmed employee cases of COVID-19, the MBTA took immediate steps to protect its workforce and riders by enacting its facility maintenance protocols to clean and disinfect all exposed work areas, vehicles, and equipment at the T’s Cabot bus facility. The three confirmed cases are MBTA Bus Operators and were reported yesterday.
“We ask the public to keep our employees in their thoughts, and I continue to express my deep gratitude to the women and men of the MBTA workforce who are serving a vital purpose in combatting COVID-19,” said MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak. “To ensure we can protect the health and safety of our workforce, we strongly urge essential travel only, and we will continue our enhanced protocols for cleaning and disinfecting all vehicles, equipment, and surfaces.”
Consistent with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH), the MBTA has enacted its COVID-19 outbreak plan. We are disinfecting the employees’ workspace, vehicles, and equipment that they may have come into contact with.
Through the public health tracing process, public health officials alert close contacts of the individuals who tested positive and will provide them with instructions for self-quarantine.
Under health information privacy laws, the MBTA is prohibited from providing identifying information about a particular employee’s medical status.
The actions taken in response to reports of positive cases have been developed based on guidance from the Department of Public Health, and are in addition to ongoing enhanced measures to regularly clean and disinfect all vehicles, facilities, and high-contact surfaces throughout the subway system.
Effective last Saturday, March 21, the MBTA also implemented rear-door boarding on all MBTA buses and trolleys at street-level stops on the Green Line and Mattapan Line in an effort to support social distancing. Anyone needing to use the front door, including seniors and people with disabilities, may continue to do so.
Also last week, the MBTA implemented new protocols to clean and disinfect all high-contact surfaces on buses during mid-day layover periods. In an effort to protect the health and safety of the MBTA workforce and customers, this new protocol is in addition to the daily cleaning and disinfecting of all MBTA fleet vehicles that takes place once every twenty-four hours. These protocols also extend to all high-contact surfaces at subway stations throughout the MBTA, which are disinfected every four hours.
The MBTA continues to support the guidance of public health officials in good hygiene practices, which include:
- Covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze, using a tissue or the inside of your elbow;
- Washing your hands for 20 seconds with soap and warm water frequently and use hand sanitizer when soap and water are unavailable;
- Trying not to touch your eyes, nose, or mouth;
- If you have a fever or feel sick, stay home and call your healthcare provider;
- Additional information is available from the CDC online.