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Two Big Blue Bus Drivers Test Positive for Coronavirus
 

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By Jorge Casuso

March 31, 2020 -- Two Santa Monica Big Blue Bus (BBB) drivers who last operated buses on three routes March 20 tested positive for the coronavirus on Sunday, agency officials announced today.

Any customers riding Rapid 12 (Westwood Boulevard), Route 7 (Pico Boulevard) or Route 8 (Ocean Park-UCLA Westwood) on Friday, March 20 should take immediate precautions, Big Blue Bus officials said.

Those who took buses on those routes that day should "monitor themselves for possible symptoms, contact your health care provider if you develop any symptoms, and self-isolate to avoid exposing others, including refraining from using public transportation."

Both drivers are recovering under quarantine, and the buses they operated were "thoroughly disinfected and cleaned before the vehicles were reassigned the next day," according to a release issued by Big Blue Bus officials.

Colleagues who may have been in contact with the Operators within the past 14 days have been notified, officials said.

Those individuals are now self-monitoring their health as guided by Los Angeles County Public Health Department and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The agency has "taken proactive measures to encourage physical distancing and make operational changes to prevent the spread of COVID-19," officials said.

They include:

  • Implementing rear-door boarding on March 20 that requires customers to board and exit through the rear door only, except those with a mobility device;

  • Suspending the collection of fares;

  • Designating a physical distancing area "that helps maintain a safe distance between drivers and customers," and

  • Providing drivers with gloves and hand sanitizer "as an added prevention measure."

The agency also has implemented "additional daily cleaning and sanitizing" of its fleet of 195 buses, officials said.

"Components treated with the disinfectant are stanchions, nylon straps, rails, Operator areas, front and rear doors, seat frames, chime cords and other areas frequently touched by people," officials said.

Big Blue Bus customers should avoid non-essential travel, "limiting trips on public transit to work, medical care, pharmacy, grocery stores, and to provide care for family members."

Those needing to ride the system should practice social distancing by standing or sitting at least 6 feet apart and should stay home if feeling sick.

They also should cover a cough or sneeze, use hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol after touching common surfaces and avoid touching one's face with unwashed hands, officials said.


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