MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - MATA has reported that at least a dozen employees tested positive for COVID-19 this week, with more having tested positive in the last month.
MATA reported that just over 100 employees have tested positive for coronavirus since the pandemic began. MATA’s data shows that over 60 of those cases have been reported since December.
CEO Gary Rosenfeld said MATA began testing its own employees about five weeks ago. “What we’ve seen is an increase in the number of asymptomatic positive tests, and that’s the same as what we’re seeing in the community.”
Rosenfeld explained that they decided to test their own employees when the community started seeing a surge in cases as a whole.
“We were concerned that if we didn’t do it that we would be contributing to the additional rise. So, we felt it was important for the safety of our employees,” Rosenfeld said.
The pandemic means fewer passengers can get on a bus because of the need to practice social distancing, causing lines to be longer.
Now with positive employees having to self-isolate, Rosenfeld said it has put even more of a strain on operations.
“We have teams looking at how we can make modifications in the near future that might alleviate some of the inconsistencies of service,” Rosenfeld said.
Right now, public transit falls under the group 2a in the vaccine rollout in Tennessee.
Rosenfeld would like transportation workers to be higher on the list. Any possible changes would have to wait until more vaccines are available.
“We are engaging both local health department officials, Tennessee state health department, to ask them to consider advancing different perspectives of public transportation as a priority,” Rosenfeld said.
For more information on the order of the vaccine rollout in Tennessee, visit the state’s vaccine plan, click here.