By Clayton Gus, NY Daily News
An MTA employee has tested positive for the coronavirus, the first reported case among the agency’s workforce of 71,000 people.
The employee, a Long Island Rail Road sheet metal worker, was last at work on March 7 and performs a job that “does not work onboard trains or interact directly with customers,” MTA Chairman Pat Foye said.
The worker has been quarantined and his workplace has been disinfected.
“We expect to see additional cases reported as testing continues to ramp up, which will help us contain the spread of the virus,” Foye said.
An outbreak at one of the MTA’s crucial facilities could spell big trouble for the agency and its ability to provide reliable mass transit service.
NYC Transit employs roughly 7,000 train operators and conductors who run subway service. If enough of those workers take sick or are quarantined, the agency may not have enough staff to run all of its scheduled trains.
The same applies to employees at the MTA’s Rail Control Center, the subway’s nerve center without which the subway cannot operate.
MTA Chief People Officer Paul Fama sent an email to transit workers Sunday urging them to “continue to observe good hygiene by washing or sanitizing your hands frequently, and staying home if you feel sick.”
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