RICHMOND, Va. -- Hundreds of GRTC bus drivers now have locally-made face shields as an added layer of protection amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The GRTC team is working non-stop to find new and creative ways to put more direct protection from COVID-19 into the hands of our frontline bus Operators,” GRTC Chief Executive Officer Julie Timm said. “These face shields offer one more layer of protection for our critical staff while they serve our community’s essential trips.”
GRTC bought 200 face shields from the Good Work Society. The organization gifted GRTC an additional 200 shields.
“At the GOOD WORK Society, we believe in doing work for good and helping people do good work while maintaining good health,” Larkin Garbee, Founder and Executive Director at GOOD WORK Society, said. “We are grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with GRTC to provide one more layer of protection for the bus drivers who are the heroes that show up every day to serve our community.”
The face shields are not mandatory, GRTC pointed out, but are available to drivers who wish to wear one. GRTC also provides masks and gloves to staff.
Four GRTC employees have tested positive for COVID-19, the transit company announced last week.
For clarity, this is the list of COVID-19 case reports to date:
The first case was reported on April 6. The employee has since recovered and is now back to work.
On April 29, a second case was reported that was then determined to be a false positive on May 6.
On May 6, an actual second case was confirmed. The employee remains on paid sick leave.
On May 7, an employee exhibiting asthma symptoms was relieved from their duty to receive medical attention, was re-tested after testing negative earlier that week, and was reported positive for COVID-19. They are on paid sick leave while being treated in a local hospital due to complications from underlying health conditions.
The fourth case was reported on May 6 and confirmed on May 8. The employee is asymptomatic and is on paid sick leave.
In late April, some GRTC drivers organized a “call-out” which led to service delays. Those drivers asked for several demands to be met before they would return to work.
Most patients with COVID-19 have mild to moderate symptoms. However, in a small proportion of patients, COVID-19 can lead to more severe illness, including death, particularly among those who are older or those who have chronic medical conditions.
COVID-19 spreads primarily through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
Symptoms include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. Symptoms appear within 14 days of being exposed to an infectious person.
Virginia health officials urged the following precautions:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer only if soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.Stay home when you are sick.
- Avoid contact with sick people.Avoid non-essential travel.