UPDATE: Santa Clarita Transit driver dies after testing positive for COVID-19; two others test positive

A city bus returns from its morning route at the Transit Maintenance Facility on Constellation Road. Gilbert Bernal \ The Signal

City of Santa Clarita officials confirmed a Santa Clarita Transit driver has died after testing positive for coronavirus, and two others have also tested positive.

That driver last worked Friday, when driving commuter trips to North Hollywood and Warner Center, according to a news release issued by Jeff Womack, chief marketing officer at MV Transportation, the independent contractor for the city’s transit services. The driver became ill on Saturday and subsequently was hospitalized.

The second driver also last worked Friday, and also drove commuter trips to North Hollywood and Warner Center.

The third driver, who is also a commuter operator supporting Santa Clarita, had received a positive test for COVID-19, as well, according to Womack. This employee had not driven a city bus since March 17.

In an email sent to Santa Clarita Transit employees on Monday by MV Transportation, they were notified that a fellow employee had tested positive for COVID-19.

“This employee self-identified as being ill and has been home for self-isolation since March 18,” the statement read.

Individuals who had been in close contact with the employees have been notified and asked to self-quarantine for 14 days, while all vehicles, workspaces and other areas of the operation that the employees came in contact with have received a deep cleaning, per the release.

“The safety and well-being of passengers and employees is the foremost consideration of both MV and Santa Clarita Transit,” Womack said in the prepared statement. “To that end, we have implemented enhanced cleaning protocols to include daily cleaning of vehicles with an extra-strength, hospital-grade disinfectant that has been proven to be effective against COVID-19.”

This includes surfaces that customers and staff come into contact with, including but not limited to seats, seatbelts, seat frames, stanchions, doors, bus interior surfaces, wheelchair lifts and controls, floors and the driver’s area are regularly cleaned, as well as areas within transit facilities.

“We are not sharing personally identifiable information out of respect for our colleague’s privacy and in keeping with HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) protections,” Womack added. “We will not announce every new illness or positive employee diagnosis since that could lead to individuals being identified and could cause other spaces to be mistakenly seen as being without risk. Additionally, if employees fear their privacy will be compromised, they may not seek needed medical care, which hinders the ability of public health officials to respond.”

To view all coronavirus-related stories, visit signalscv.com/category/news/coronavirus.

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