COVID-19 update; Friday, April 10

The latest numbers from the L.A. County Department of Public Health as of Friday afternoon and the county has also extended safer-at-home orders until May 15. Testing is expanding but until it becomes more common, we probably won’t have a complete picture of how many cases of COVID-19 there are in the county, thus the abundance of caution.

Our messaging remains:

 

Under L.A. County’s “Safer at Home” order, travel is only allowed for essential activities, including work to essential jobs (and there are many jobs considered essential), visiting a doctor or vet, obtaining medical supplies or medication, grocery shopping for yourself or others,  providing care for minors, seniors, dependents and persons with disabilities or other vulnerabilities, legally mandated government purposes and to comply with law enforcement or court orders.

Limiting travel to those who need to make essential trips only will make it easier to ensure social distancing at a time when L.A. County is desperately trying to curtail community spread and keep the number of COVID-19 cases from overwhelming local hospitals and our health-care system.

Our law enforcement and homeless outreach partners are also trying to connect more vulnerable and homeless to shelters during the pandemic.

We’re currently running about 80 percent of our normal service levels although some trips will be canceled. We’re trying to be strategic to avoid extending anyone’s wait. We do recommend allowing extra time for your commute.

That will change on Sunday, April 19, when we’ll start running a modified Sunday schedules across the system including some bus lines that usually don’t run on Sundays. We’re aiming to have a Source post up Monday with all the details.

•Metro has published a list of confirmed cases of COVID-19 among employees, contractors and vendors. The list will be updated daily.

•Smart government messaging on physical distancing:

•With vehicle traffic reduced, a three-block closure of Wilshire Boulevard in downtown Beverly Hills is underway to help speed up construction of the Wilshire/Rodeo station for the Purple Line Extension.

In the news…

•The number of New York MTA workers who have died has risen to 50, reports New York One. Meanwhile, the NY MTA is pushing back hard against a New York Times article earlier in this week that alleged the agency was slow to protect workers. From a letter the NY MTA sent to the NYT:

The only ‘sluggish’ response has been on the part of the World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, whose guidelines against widespread use of masks the MTA (a transportation organization, not a medical provider) initially followed but has since disregarded. To date, we have provided 460,000 N95 and surgical masks to all of our operating employees in addition to thousands of face shields and 2.5 million pairs of gloves. Only last week – after the MTA acted and we recommended our customers wear face coverings – did the CDC change course and recommend Americans wear masks. The WHO has still not acted.

On Thursday, the NY MTA increased its “Temperature Brigade” to more locations across their system to take the temperature of workers as they headed to work. Those with temperatures of 100.4 or higher are sent home and told to seek health care.

A tragic story. Our hearts go out to our colleagues at the New York MTA and the rest of New York state and NYC, both of which have been hit extremely hard by the coronavirus.

The NYT also posted this yesterday, a nice tribute to the many tens of thousands of transit workers who continue to keep essential workers moving:

The Press Enterprise takes a look at what transit agencies across the Southland are doing to protect bus operators and other workers. At Metro, that includes instituting rear door boarding on buses, having bus operators use the plexiglass shield that helps seal off the cab and continuing to distribute personal protection equipment. We’re also recommending that all riders wear face coverings/masks, promoting social distancing on board buses and trains and having law enforcement and homeless activists try to connect more homeless to shelters.

•The New Yorker takes a look at how pandemics have helped shape world history. Good/alarming read perhaps best paired with a beverage.

The LAT speculates on what a return to normal life might look like.

•With traffic down, the city of Oakland is closing 74 (not a misprint) miles of streets during the pandemic to give people more room to walk, bike and run, reports NBC News. Other cities are doing likewise, although I don’t think to this scale.

•The NYT looks at how much rush hour traffic has dropped in cities across the U.S. with time-lapse videos.

•Nice tribute for those on the front lines at one of our local hospitals.

•For you telecommuters, some interesting upsets with bandwidth, huddle and silo honking out early.

•Speaking of Springsteen…have a safe weekend and thank you to everyone on the front lines.

 

12 replies

  1. Your list of Metro employees who have the coronavirus is useless to members of the general public.

    If any employees have contact with the public, you should state where they worked and what time. If they worked on a bus as a driver, trainee, instructor, ride as a police officer, or in any other capacity, you should have a link to their work schedule–what time each bus was scheduled to run, and each day that they worked. If they worked as a security officer, or as a transit police officer for the Los Angeles Police, Long Beach Police, or sheriffs, you should tell us which stations they worked at, which buses or trains they worked at, and what time they were at each location. That includes any undercover officers who are suspected of infecting anyone.

    You should do the same for any passengers whom are suspected of being contagious.

    If you do not do this, your information is useless for telling members of the public whetther we have been exposed to coronavirus.

  2. I hear there’s a shakeup going on right now because of COVID. Is the GTFS feed going to be updated? The last update on the bus GTFS was January. Thanks.

    • Hi Michelle;

      We will be using Sunday schedules seven days a week beginning April 19. I’ll check on the GTFS feed — not sure.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

    • We continue to get shipments of PPE and we continue to distribute to staff and bus operators.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  3. Are there any plans to accelerate the capital projects (e.g. bus lanes) included in the NextGen plan while streets are getting less traffic during the shutdown? It would be great to get a head start on those now even though the service plan hasn’t been finalized.

    • Hi Andrew;

      I haven’t heard of anything. As you know, bus lanes would need to also be approved by the city where they are located.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  4. (And I got a Another question) When is bus and trains will be normal service a this point ?

    • That is to be determined. At this point, Safer at Home orders have been extended until May 15, which means many people will not be commuting as they regularly do.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

      • I don’t feel “safer at home”. I’ll feel safer when all of the current authoritarian Los Angeles County politicians get voted out or are forced to resign for destroying our freedoms and our economy. The unemployed will have no jobs to return to on May 15, June 15, July 15 or whatever. Normal service requires employed commuters.

  5. (And I got a another question) people Can ride with mask for using a bus and train is there allow to mask on for Transportation?

    • Yes, we recommend riders wear face coverings or a mask while on transit.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source