Even with extra precautions 14 Santa Cruz Metro drivers contract COVID-19

Health officials have warned that the current wave of COVID-19 is likely to be more dangerous.Since the beginning of the pandemic, 20 Santa Cruz Metro employees have tested positive even though Santa Cruz Metro has been proactive in protecting drivers and passengers.Metro buses are sanitized, there are sneeze shields separating passengers from one another and drivers sit behind screens.”I think overall we feel pretty OK. I mean, Metro has been exemplary as far as all the preventative measures,” said James Sandoval, General Chairperson Local 23.Even with those extra precautions in place 14 of the 20 employees who have tested positive are drivers.Many were asymptomatic and self-quarantined to prevent spreading.Metro has conducted its own contact tracing along with the County.As of Thursday, there has been no COVID-19 positive traced back to transmission to the workplace or the bus either from a customer to an operator or an operator to a customer said, Alex Clifford, Santa Cruz Metro CEO.With weekly testing, Metro anticipates there may be more positive results especially since Santa Cruz County has seen a surge in COVID-19 cases.”That means that as you do more testing you’re going to find a significant number of people that are coming up positive,” said Clifford.While drivers recuperate their union representative says they’re keeping buses on track as best they can.”We’ve got just enough drivers to cover the service now with the number of people coming positive,” said Sandoval.Santa Cruz County continues to vaccinate at-risk populations and front-line health care workers.They’re anywhere from 4-6 weeks away from completing that task and moving out of tier one.”I know everyone wants it but until it’s more readily available we’re going to be following the guidelines that have been laid out by the state and federal government,” said Santa Cruz County Communications Manager, Jason Hoppin.

Health officials have warned that the current wave of COVID-19 is likely to be more dangerous.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, 20 Santa Cruz Metro employees have tested positive even though Santa Cruz Metro has been proactive in protecting drivers and passengers.

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Metro buses are sanitized, there are sneeze shields separating passengers from one another and drivers sit behind screens.

“I think overall we feel pretty OK. I mean, Metro has been exemplary as far as all the preventative measures,” said James Sandoval, General Chairperson Local 23.

Even with those extra precautions in place 14 of the 20 employees who have tested positive are drivers.

Many were asymptomatic and self-quarantined to prevent spreading.

Metro has conducted its own contact tracing along with the County.

As of Thursday, there has been no COVID-19 positive traced back to transmission to the workplace or the bus either from a customer to an operator or an operator to a customer said, Alex Clifford, Santa Cruz Metro CEO.

With weekly testing, Metro anticipates there may be more positive results especially since Santa Cruz County has seen a surge in COVID-19 cases.

“That means that as you do more testing you’re going to find a significant number of people that are coming up positive,” said Clifford.

While drivers recuperate their union representative says they’re keeping buses on track as best they can.

“We’ve got just enough drivers to cover the service now with the number of people coming positive,” said Sandoval.

Santa Cruz County continues to vaccinate at-risk populations and front-line health care workers.

They’re anywhere from 4-6 weeks away from completing that task and moving out of tier one.

“I know everyone wants it but until it’s more readily available we’re going to be following the guidelines that have been laid out by the state and federal government,” said Santa Cruz County Communications Manager, Jason Hoppin.

Contributed by local news sources

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