Latest GRTC Employee Test Results for COVID-19: Five confirmed cases to date

For Immediate Release
May 13, 2020
For more information, contact:
CARRIE ROSE PACE – (804) 516-4148 –
carrie.rosepace@ridegrtc.com

Latest GRTC Employee Test Results for COVID-19
Five confirmed cases to date.

RICHMOND, Va. (May 13, 2020) – GRTC continues to encourage ongoing, voluntary testing of all staff for COVID-19. To date, more than half of all employees have been voluntarily tested with only five confirmed cases since mid-March. The updated list of cases is below.

GRTC is collaborating with the Virginia Department of Health on individual notifications for potentially affected staff, in compliance with HIPAA laws to protect the confidentiality of staff medical information. After individuals are notified, GRTC informs all staff of any new positive cases, followed by a public update.

It is through this coordinated notification, testing and quarantine process that GRTC isolated its fifth COVID-19 case, confirmed today. The employee, a bus Operator, is suspected to have had contact with Case #3 last week, although it is unclear if Case #5 contracted COVID-19 from Case #3.

For clarity, this is the list of COVID-19 case reports to date:

1st Case: Reported April 6. Employee has recovered and is back at work.
False 2nd Case: Reported April 29, but later determined on May 6 with secondary testing to be a false-positive. Employee, a bus Operator, was cleared by the Virginia Department of Health and is back at work.
Actual 2nd Case: Initial results reported to GRTC on May 3 as an asymptomatic positive test. Secondary test results received on May 6 confirmed the positive result. Employee was on paid sick leave starting on the initial test date of May 2 and remains on paid sick leave. Employee is a recent hire and has not been involved in public bus service.
3rd Case: Initial results reported to GRTC on May 2 as negative test. The GRTC employee, a bus Operator, exhibited asthma symptoms on May 7, was relieved from duty to receive medical attention, was re-tested and was reported positive for COVID-19. Employee is on paid sick leave while being treated in a local hospital due to complications from underlying health conditions.
4th Case: Initial results reported May 6 as an asymptomatic positive test. Secondary test results were received the afternoon of May 8 and confirmed the positive results. The employee, a bus Operator, has been on paid sick leave since May 6 and is still asymptomatic.
5th Case: Potential contact with 3rd Case noted May 7. The employee, a bus Operator, has been on paid sick leave since May 8, was tested, and confirmed positive for COVID-19 on May 13. The employee currently has mild symptoms.

GRTC Chief Executive Officer Julie Timm says, “My heart continues to be with our Operator who is still in the hospital, and the entire GRTC Family hopes for a complete and quick recovery. I also want to thank our other employees currently on quarantine for helping us contain potential spread of COVID-19. I am proud of GRTC’s efforts to protect each individual’s privacy according to HIPAA, and of HR to personally notify potentially affected staff.”

GRTC is working closely with the Virginia Department of Health to quarantine staff as needed to contain any possible spread of the virus and to identify proper testing frequencies for all GRTC staff moving forward. GRTC continues to encourage any staff who think they may have been exposed to the virus or may be experiencing COVID-like symptoms to be proactively tested and quarantined pending test results. This process allows GRTC to quickly identify and contain any potential spread of the virus to other staff, ensuring all GRTC employees who test positive receive early and full medical care.

Timm adds, “Our Operators are frontline workers during this public health crisis. Our customers should honor their dedication to providing essential mobility services for our community by following public health protocols. Wear a mask when riding GRTC. Observe social distance on-board and take advantage of extra buses in service. Use the hand sanitizer on-board. Continue to limit travel to essential trips only.”

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 follow CDC guidance to wear cloth face coverings. Customers are advised to wear cloth face masks or coverings while riding to protect GRTC staff and other passengers. Hand sanitizer dispensers are now available for customers on-board.

GRTC continues to procure and provide cloth face masks, protective gloves, face shields and cleaning supplies to staff. There are already 31 buses with driver shields previously installed, and GRTC is currently retrofitting the rest of the fleet with driver protective barriers.

For the most complete and latest GRTC updates during this pandemic, please visit our website.

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.

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