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COMET driver quarantined after positive COVID-19 test

Officials say the driver last worked Thursday, September 10 on Route 18 Red.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — A Columbia bus driver was quarantined on Monday after testing positive for COVID-19.  

Officials with the Central Midlands Regional Transit Authority (COMET) say the driver, who is employed by their subcontractor, RATP Dev USA, Inc., will quarantine for 14 days and then be retested. The test results were received late Monday afternoon. 

Officials say the driver last worked Thursday, September 10 on Route 18 Red. Both the vehicle and any equipment that encountered the positive test was immediately removed from service and thoroughly sanitized.

Any concerned passengers who were on the affected route are advised to get tested. 

“We feel strongly that is important for us to be transparent to protect the community and to do our part to reduce cases,” said John Andoh, Executive Director/CEO of The COMET. 

Safety precautions in effect include daily disinfecting and enhanced detailing on its vehicles a minimum of four times a month, which includes fogging and steam cleaning. The COMET say they also continue to do enhanced cleaning of its facilities, including bus shelters and bus benches daily and provide hand sanitizer inside all buses.

For the safety of our drivers, riders and the community, a face mask is required when riding #TheCOMET. Do your part in keeping the Midlands safe + clean by wearing a mask during your ride. 😷

Posted by The COMET on Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Bus operators and staff are required to use the multiple temperature check stations, located in the administration building which houses the drivers’ lounge, upon reporting for their shift. Rear door boarding of all passengers, except for seniors or those in a wheelchair is also in effect.

Enforcing masks or face coverings to ride The COMET buses or enter facilities went into effect in June. The buses operators are instructed to not move unless all passengers are complying. In addition to the mandatory mask policy, drivers were also given face shields to further protect themselves and their passengers, officials say. To prevent overcrowding, “tripper” vehicles follow popular routes so that passengers may ride comfortably. No standing is allowed.