A bus operator for TheBus has tested positive for coronavirus, Oʻahu Transit Services, Inc. (OTS), operator of TheBus and The Handi-Van confirmed today.
OTS received word Saturday night (6/27/2020) that the worker tested positive for COVID-19. The driver operated buses on several bus routes over the past week, but it is unknown how the employee came in contact with the virus. All the buses operated by this driver have been deeply cleaned and disinfected.
“Our highest priority is to protect the health and well-being of our employees and the riding public,” OTS President and General Manager Roger Morton said in a statement. “As soon as we were notified of the one confirmed case, we confirmed that all buses driven by the employee and all areas in our facilities the employee had occupied were disinfected.” OTS is in contact with the Department of Health (DOH), receiving guidance, and following DOH protocols. DOH received the laboratory report late last night and more information will be shared when it becomes available.
Morton added that coworkers who may have come in close contact were individually notified of the positive test and are quarantining at home. In addition, all OTS employees have been notified via email of the positive test.
The City has taken steps to reduce the risk of infection while riding or operating a bus. “Always wear a mask or face covering while riding TheBus. When possible, limit travel on TheBus to essential trips,” said Jon Nouchi, Deputy Director of the City’s Department of Transportation Services. “We will make every effort to maintain a safe environment onboard TheBus and TheHandi-Van, including ramping up our services levels as Honolulu comes back to life and more people ride TheBus.”
TheBus and TheHandi-Van have taken steps to reduce the risk of infection while riding or operating a transit vehicle. Plastic curtains have been installed on all buses to provide a barrier between drivers and passengers as they board. Seats closest to the operator have been made unavailable to provide greater space and extra buses have been added on busy routes to provide more area for physical separation. All buses and vans are disinfected daily by wiping down all touch surfaces manually with a strong anti-virus disinfectant and receive nightly disinfecting fogging using an electrostatic spraying system.
The City continues to remind the public that only essential trips should be taken on public transit, and that wearing a face mask or covering while entering and riding on a bus or a TheHandi-Van is required. Transit riders should continue practicing good hygiene and social distancing. People who are sick or in poor health conditions should stay at home and not ride public transit.