Those who rode a city bus in Jacksonville this week may have been exposed to COVID-19.
The driver traversed a wide swath throughout the city in the days before diagnosis, with routes on the Northside, Westside, and Southside this week.
The Jacksonville Transportation Authority, or JTA, informed media Thursday that a driver that had been deployed through Apr. 15 tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
The “bus operator,” JTA asserted, was receiving “medical care and are in quarantine.”
Whether the driver was symptomatic before Apr. 16 is unknown, but the driver was working as late as Wednesday afternoon, an Avenue B/Moncrief shift on the Northside that ended just before 2:00 p.m.
The driver drove the same route on Apr. 13, but had a different assignment for an Apr. 14 double shift and therefore, a different group of people could have been infected.
On the 14th, the driver handled an Argyle Forest route for part of the day, and a Sunbeam Road route for another part of the day, a marathon session that started at 6:30 a.m. and ended at 11:30 p.m, per the media release from JTA.
More questions are raised by partial disclosures of information.
“After a thorough review, we began sending any employees thought to have come into contact with this person home to self-quarantine for at least 14 days,” JTA noted, not indicating how many employees were in the affected class.
“That review continues and may result in more employees being sent home. In addition to the frequent cleaning and disinfecting activities conducted at JTA facilities and onboard JTA vehicles, we have repeated a deep clean of any area or vehicle this person was present at during the past seven days,” the release continued.
The report comes on the heels of revelations earlier in the week that three firemen tested positive for COVID-19, with 77 more in isolation.
Despite indications that the novel coronavirus is still wreaking havoc on the public sector, Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry discussed Thursday “next steps” to resuming more normal life in the city post-coronavirus.
To be sure, the virus continues to take its toll with 769 cases, 67 hospitalizations, 14 deaths, as of Thursday morning tallies.
Curry expressed confidence that the city was at the top of the curve, in terms of hospitalizations.
“We’re going to get back to life,” Curry said, regarding opening up the economy and removing current restrictions on movement and commerce that may have flattened the curve, but definitely flattened the economy.