A King County Metro employee shared on Sunday, March 22 that they tested positive for COVID-19. All of us across King County send our well wishes.
The Metro employee is self-isolating at home and has not worked since March 17. The employee is in the Vehicle Maintenance Division at Ryerson Base. Metro has been and will continue to sanitize high-touch surfaces of the facility—such as bathroom fixtures, counters, doorknobs, telephones, and toilets—daily.
At Metro, safety has always been our #1 priority. We remain in close contact with Public Health – Seattle & King County regarding the evolving public health situation. As our region responds to COVID-19, Metro moved quickly to protect the health of our employees and the public by:
- transitioning to daily sanitizing of buses and other transit vehicles;
- setting up a Department Operations Center (DOC) to manage fast response;
- educating the public and encouraging higher-risk employees to stay home;
- shifting customer-facing sales and service operations to telephone and web; and
- suspending fare payment and directing passengers who are able to enter and exit buses through the rear doors.
Per our policies, any employee diagnosed with COVID-19 is directed to stay home and self-isolate for at least 14 days. And, while the signs of COVID-19 can be similar to other conditions, employees with possible symptoms are sent home and directed to self-quarantine until they have been symptom free for at least 72 hours out of an abundance of caution.
While this particular employee chose to disclose, we are not sharing personally identifiable information out of respect for our colleague’s privacy and in keeping with HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) protections.
Further, unfortunately we expect more cases among our community and our employees. We are sharing this first known case at a base in full transparency. However, as more cases are confirmed, we will not be announcing every new illness or positive diagnosis in workspaces since that could lead to individuals being identified and could cause other spaces to be mistakenly seen as being without risk. Additionally, if employees fear their privacy will be compromised, they may not seek needed medical care, which hinders the ability of public health officials to respond. We can’t emphasize enough that, at this point, we all have to assume there is a risk of exposure in any public space and act accordingly.
Metro has seen its ridership decrease by more than half in recent weeks as many people heed the advice of our leaders and public health officials. However, we recognize we have customers who cannot work from home; who are reliant on transit to buy food or seek medical care; and who serve us as first-responders, grocery store workers, and other essential services. Metro thanks them for their dedication and we thank our drivers and other employees for keeping them, and our county, moving.
On Monday, March 23, Metro implemented a Reduced Schedule to respond to declining ridership, and to maintain a resilient and sustainable transit system that’s able to operate during the pandemic and that can ramp back up when this chapter closes.
- King County Metro Transit
- Public Health
- Other King County services