RTC bus driver tests positive for COVID-19

Published: Jul. 22, 2020 at 3:27 PM PDT|Updated: Jul. 22, 2020 at 3:53 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) -A driver on the Washoe County Regional Transpiration System public bus route has tested positive for COVID-19, the RTC said Wednesday.

The driver works for Keolis, the contractor that manages the bus service.

The driver has not been at work since July 13. That same day the driver got a COVID-19 test which came back positive. The driver notified Keolis on July 21 and Keolis notified the RTC the same day.

There is no information available about which route or routes the driver handled.

“With guidance from the Washoe County Health District, since the driver didn’t have close contact with any passengers, the RTC did not provide route information,” RTC Public Information Officer Lauren Ball said in an email response. “Additionally, providing route information would be in violation of Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) because it could provide the identity of the individual, which is confidential. "

“The driver did not have any exposure or close-contact interactions with passengers within the guidelines of 15 minutes or more and less than six feet,” the RTC said in a statement. " All drivers are required to wear masks or face coverings when driving and there is a plastic barrier shield between drivers and passengers.”

The RTC said the exposure did not occur at the workplace or on any work vehicle. They believe co-workers were not exposed for 15 minutes or more or at less than 6 feet.

“We encourage people who believe they may have been exposed, or who have COVID-19 symptoms, to contact a medical professional,” RTC Executive Director Bill Thomas said in a statement. “We are grateful for the essential bus operators who provide transportation to those who rely on it in our community and we wish this driver a speedy recovery.”

The RTC says it is in compliance with Gov. Steve Sisolak’s directive on wearing masks.

The RTC says its steps to ensure compliance include:

  • Promote social distancing guidelines at transit facilities and on transit vehicles with designated seating.
  • Installed a plastic barrier shield between the bus driver and passengers boarding buses.
  • Providing free face masks on all buses and at RTC Customer Service at 4TH STREET STATION in Reno and CENTENNIAL PLAZA in Sparks.
  • Educating passengers who are not wearing face coverings about Governor Sisolak’s Face Coverings Directive and providing complimentary face-covering upon boarding.
  • Posting signage on buses and at bus stations reminding customers of the Governor’s Directive to wear face coverings in public and on transit.
  • Providing complimentary face coverings onboard RTC ACCESS and FlexRIDE services.
  • Asking drivers to report passengers who do not wear face coverings on RTC RIDE transit services to Keolis dispatch.
  • The RTC and its contractors continue to adhere to exceptions for individuals who may not be able to wear a face-covering or mask, as outlined in the Governor’s Directive and in accordance with federal protections outlined under Title VI and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

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