A bus driver for TheBus, who has operated multiple routes in the past week, has tested positive for coronavirus, Oahu Transit Services announced today.
OTS, which operates TheBus, said in a statement that the organization had been informed on Saturday evening that the worker had a positive result, and that all colleagues who could have been in close contact with the person have been informed and are in quarantine at home. All OTS employees were informed of the positive case by email.
Officials said the driver “had used buses on several bus lines in the past week”, but had not identified which ones.
OTS said it was not clear how the driver came into contact with the virus. All the buses operated by the driver were thoroughly cleaned and disinfected.
“Our top priority is to protect the health and well-being of our employees and the public,” said OTS President and CEO Roger Morton in a statement. “As soon as we were informed of the only confirmed case, we confirmed that all of the employee-driven buses and all of the employee-occupied areas of our facilities had been disinfected.”
The organization works with the State Department of Health for advice and protocols. The health department received the report late Saturday evening and will share more information as it becomes available.
Honolulu officials urged the public to use public transportation only for essential travel and that a face mask or blanket is required to enter or board TheBus or TheHandi-Van.
“Whenever possible, limit travel on TheBus to essential travel,” said Jon Nouchi, deputy director of the city’s transportation services department. “We will do our utmost to maintain a safe environment on board TheBus and TheHandi-Van, including increasing our service levels as Honolulu comes back to life and more people use TheBus.”
TheBus and TheHandi-Van have taken steps to reduce the risk of infection when driving or using a public transit vehicle. Plastic curtains were installed on all the buses to provide a barrier between drivers and passengers when boarding, the city said.
Seats closest to the operator have been made unavailable to provide more space, and additional buses have been added on busy roads to provide more space for physical separation. All buses and vans are disinfected daily by manually wiping all touch surfaces with a powerful antivirus disinfectant and receive a nighttime disinfection mist using an electrostatic spray system, the city added.
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