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Dallas Public Transportation Employees Sent Home After Potential Ebola Exposure

Dallas Public Transportation Employees Sent Home After Potential Ebola Exposure

DALLAS, Texas — Two Dallas Area Rapid Transportation (DART) public transportation employees self-reported possible exposure to the deadly Ebola Virus and were each promptly sent home in an exercise of caution, DART representative Morgan Lewis told Breitbart News on Friday.

Lewis confirmed to Breitbart that two transportation workers have been sent home following self-reporting of possible Ebola exposure. “One is related to a healthcare worker at Presbyterian who is being monitored. That employee reported to us after becoming aware of the relative’s status being monitored after possible contamination while working at the hospital.” That relative is one of a group of 75 under observation after potential contact with Ebola victim Thomas Eric Duncan who subsequently died from the effects of Ebola.

“The second employee is a bus operator,” Lewis said. “That operator completed a work shift before he got a call that led him to discover he had been on the second flight with the second nurse to contract the virus from Duncan, Amber Joy Vinson. As soon as he learned of possible exposure he told us and we sent him home.” Vinson reportedly had a low-grade fever when she boarded that flight back to Dallas, Texas from Cleveland, Ohio.

 “To my knowledge at this time neither employee has exhibited symptoms,” Lewis told Breitbart.

When asked how long the employees will be off-duty, Lewis answered, “The two employees will be out as long as necessary. We don’t know how long, because each one has a remote connection to exposed individuals.”

“We are in regular contact with them and we will continue to do that,” he stated.

Lewis conveyed the risk for the two is believed to be comparatively low, “From what we understand from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the only means of transmission is for the person to be actively displaying symptoms. We don’t believe the healthcare worker has exhibited symptoms at this time.”

“Based on our information and the CDC information there appears to be a comparatively low risk of transmission,” he said, “but we want to make sure we do everything we can to keep our patrons safe.”

“We had already, when the Ebola situation first arrived here, had already begun escalating our processes for vehicle cleaning and making sure we were doing everything we could. Some vehicles are being cleaned twice a day. They get a deep cleaning weekly. We have procedures for possible infectious disease exposures as well involving isolating vehicles or areas. We want to make sure we do what we need to do to keep our riders safe.”

“We have also made sure the cleaning crews have personal protective equipment available to them,” DART representative Lewis said.

According to Lewis, the Ebola situation has not slowed DART use, “We’ve had a number of questions regarding Ebola risk on public transportation, but have not seen a noticeable change in ridership. This is a busy time because of the state fair and we’ve had pretty heavy ridership due to that.”

“Our employees, like everyone else have a lot of questions. We have been communicating with them from the beginning and reminding them to practice good hygiene,” Lewis added.

According to Lewis, DART has referenced guidelines from county officials, state officials, CDC and Texas health officials in response to the current situation.

Lewis stated that DART services cover Dallas and 12 other cities, operates the longest light rail system, buses and commuter rail lines. He told Breitbart this includes 13,000 bus stops.

For now, Lewis says from his understanding the two employees sent home are self-monitoring, but are not part of the identified monitoring group. We are staying in contact with them, he said.

I know that he made an initial contact with the CDC when he figured out he had possibly been exposed to Vinson, but it is unknown whether those individual continues regular contact with local, state or federal health officials.

Follow Michelle Moons on Twitter @MichelleDiana

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