UPDATE MAY 31: This testing event is being rescheduled because of the City of Richmond curfew.
For Immediate Release
May 28, 2020
For more information, contact:
CARRIE ROSE PACE – (804) 516-4148 – email@example.com
GRTC Hosts On-site COVID-19 Testing for Staff
SecureHealth contracted to perform voluntary employee testing.
One new GRTC COVID-19 case confirmed last night.
RICHMOND, Va. (May 28, 2020) – On Monday, June 1, GRTC hosts its first voluntary, on-site COVID-19 testing event for GRTC and First Transit employees. Testing will be conducted by SecureHealth, a regionally owned and operated urgent care provider, with up to 200 tests possible per testing day. All COVID-19 testing, both on-site and elsewhere, continues to be paid for by GRTC on behalf of employees.
GRTC Chief Executive Officer Julie Timm says, “Since mid-March, we have been working to improve access to COVID-19 testing for our employees. Now, with frequent and convenient on-site testing, we will be even more prepared to contain any incident of the virus by identifying and quarantining positive-tested staff members early and possibly even prior to symptoms being experienced or spread. Our quarantine and testing measures to date have successfully limited staff exposure and blocked any outbreaks at GRTC. We will continue to provide on-site testing through this pandemic and increase our efforts to protect the health and safety of our staff and riders.”
Testing appointments are scheduled in advance, with times convenient to GRTC’s shifts beginning as early as 4AM. Employees may voluntarily be tested and continue working if they are not showing symptoms. As always, any person showing symptoms of COVID-19 or suspected to have had direct contact with a confirmed case is advised to be tested immediately and quarantine awaiting test results.
SecureHealth, founded by BetterMed Urgent Care leaders, offers two test collection options – a nasal swab or a back-of-the-throat test for COVID-19.
SecureHealth Chief Financial and Commercial Officer Mark Johnson says, “As access to testing improves nationwide, SecureHealth is pleased to provide increased testing opportunities in the interest of public health. We know workplaces can be a transmission site for this virus, and we applaud GRTC’s approach to offer ongoing testing for its workforce.”
Using funding from the Federal CARES Act, GRTC is contracted with SecureHealth for up to 40 testing events totaling, with automatic contract renewals if needed. More on-site testing dates will be announced to staff after June 1 for proactive, voluntary monitoring of potential virus exposure among the workforce.
To date since March, there have been seven confirmed COVID-19 cases among GRTC staff. The seventh case was confirmed last night, May 27. Case 7 is a part-time bus Operator who has not been at work since May 20. The Virginia Department of Health is currently tracing any possible contact with other staff. Case 7 is currently quarantined.
Timm further states, “COVID can be everywhere, could be picked up by anyone at any time, and can be spread before anyone knows they are contagious. As with any business or agency, other than shutting down, which is not an option for public mobility services, GRTC cannot fully and completely control where or when someone may contact COVID in our system. What we can do, and what we have been doing since early March, is put the safety of our operators first as we protect their jobs and continue to serve our community’s essential mobility needs. We are taking every precaution to provide clean and healthy workplaces and maximum possible social distancing to stop or limit the spread inside our facilities and buses. This includes ongoing use of masks and gloves, frequent sanitation and cleaning daily and between shifts, ongoing social distancing between operators and passengers, maximizing the use of GRTC vehicles on high ridership routes to help spread passengers onto more buses, and now frequent on-site testing for all staff. And we are fully committed to fighting every day and every night to find new and better ways to safely and effectively serve our staff and our passengers.”
GRTC continues to take action to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in the community and protect its employees. Each night as buses return home to GRTC, a team of 15 contracted cleaners assists maintenance staff with disinfecting high-touch surfaces on every bus, including seats, floors, handrails, pull-cords and the driver’s area. High-touch surfaces at GRTC facilities and vehicles are disinfected daily with many areas also cleaned regularly during and between shifts. Staff also continue to practice social distancing and wear cloth face coverings. GRTC continues to procure and provide cloth face masks, protective gloves, face shields and cleaning supplies to staff. There are already 32 buses with driver shields installed, and GRTC is currently retrofitting the rest of the fleet with driver protective barriers.
Customers are asked to only ride GRTC for essential trips. Per Executive Order 63, customers must wear cloth face masks or coverings while riding to protect GRTC staff and other passengers. Hand sanitizer dispensers are available for customers on-board. An order of 20,000 cloth face masks is expected to arrive in early June, and GRTC will make masks available for passengers still needing a mask to ride. Another order of 2,000 masks is also in place to continue supplying quality cloth masks for staff.
GRTC is a public service corporation providing mobility services in the Greater Richmond area. GRTC’s current operational budget of $53.9M primarily funds daily mobility operations and vehicle maintenance. GRTC provides more than 9.25 million trips annually.
SecureHealth is a Richmond, Virginia-based health care provider founded by BetterMed Urgent Care leaders. SecureHealth provides onsite COVID-19 testing, monitoring and surveillance solutions to B2B clients across a range of industries, including transportation, manufacturing, education, health care and other end markets. BetterMed Urgent Care is a Richmond, Virginia-based company providing urgent care services in 12 locations – 10 in Richmond and Central, Virginia and 2 in Charlotte, North Carolina. BetterMed is also the leading private company providing curbside COVID-19 exams and testing in Virginia.Download