Thursday, November 5, 2020

Metropolitan Transportation Authority To Start Frequent COVID-19 Testing For Its Employees (LATE POST)

By N Miller

*This was originally last week's post. My computer crashed. So here's last week's post for this week. Please enjoy.

NEW YORK, NY – Well, this is some news. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) will be giving its employees testing for COVID-19. This is done due to a survey that was performed weeks ago by the New York University in conjunction with the Transit Workers Union (TWU). It states that 1 in 4 transit workers came in contact with the virus. The reason that they (the MTA) are doing this is because they want to mask up and deter the fact that had 153 employee deaths in their transit sub agency department and want to act like they had no idea where this virus come from. The TA is doing everything in their power for being lazy and complacent with the use of masks and supply of PPE’s by getting stations, trains, buses, and benches cleaned. We all know the
truth, MTA; you do not need to hide it.

The announcement was made back on October 27th. Thousands of employees will be tested on a weekly basis at a rotating set of workplaces, including train and bus depots, as well as at medical assessment and occupational health services centers. Not only death and despair took its toll on the transit workforce, but, all throughout spring and up to early summer, more than 10,000 employees called in sick due to exposure to the virus, which MTA leadership is downplaying. This caused services to be cancelled and longer wait times on various lines throughout the system. Testing will be RT-PCR and will take approximately five minutes for the nasal swab to be administered. The program is voluntary, but participation is strongly recommended. Turnaround time for results will be within 48 hours under normal circumstances and employees will receive their results in that timeframe. 

The MTA is partnering with BioReference Laboratories and Quest Diagnostics to perform testing. The initial phase of the program will include a goal of testing two thousand employees per week with priority focus on testing up to 15% of the frontline workforce. The COVID-19 Screening Program will begin at select field locations, MACs and OHS facilities and will be expanded to additional sites and scaled up in the coming weeks.  Employees must register to come into a MAC or OHS site if they are not already scheduled for a visit. Jon R. Cohen, M.D., Executive Chairman of BioReference Laboratories said this in a statement, “It is critically important to ensure that MTA employees are safe and healthy. A healthy workforce that is COVID-19 will help us continue to stop the spread of the virus and keep millions of New Yorkers safely moving forward." Employees experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 should immediately see their personal physician or get tested at a local test site. Testing information can also be found at the New York State Department of Health, or by calling the NYS COVID-19 Hotline at 1-888-364-3065. 

In other news, the fate of the MTA’s funding is at the hands of this crazy 2020 Election. We are still waiting for $12B worth of funding from the House and the Senate. If you are a veteran, then do the TA got good news for you. Starting today, 50,000 commemorative MetroCards featuring a Veterans Day image will be available for customers beginning on Friday, Nov. 6. The cards will be available at select MetroCard vending machines in high ridership stations in Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan and the Bronx. A number of cards will also be available at MetroCard vending machines at the St. George Ferry Terminal on Staten Island. The commemorative MetroCards, which were created by an in-house design team at New York City Transit, will also be given to each MTA agency’s Veterans Employee Resource Group to distribute at their Veterans Day events. The images on the cards will also be shown on digital display screens throughout the system. Lastly, to all of you out there, no matter which way the election goes, please be safe and be respectful to others.




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