Over three dozen SSA employees test negative for COVID-19

The Steamship Authority floated rate hikes for its ferry service at a Port Council meeting Wednesday. - Rich Saltzberg

The Steamship Authority announced Wednesday afternoon that 38 of its employees tested negative for COVID-19. The news comes following positive tests for three employees who worked on either the Woods Hole, the Governor, or both vessels. Of the 38 negative tests, 29 were employees who had their testing arranged by the SSA, while another 10 opted to get tested on their own, a release states. The 29 were thought to have had the potential for contact with the three infected individuals, while the other 10 were taken off their schedules as a precautionary measure, but didn’t meet the threshold for needing a test. One of those 10 is still awaiting test results. 

 “The Authority is not disclosing employee names or positions within the company, to ensure that their private health information remains confidential,” the release states.

Via the release, SSA general manager Robert Davis expressed relief. “These negative test results are a welcome relief for those of us at the Authority who have been concerned these last 12 days over the health of our coworkers,” he said. “While it is unfortunate that three of our vessel crew members did test positive, I am heartened that so many more received negative test results — a testament to our crews’ dedication to following best practices aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19 and keeping everyone safe.”

Many of the employees are able to return work, according to SSA spokesman Sean Driscoll. “The bulk of them are now available to work,” he said.

However, he added, some may be under doctor’s orders not to return. He declined to elaborate, citing privacy considerations. 

As of Wednesday, Driscoll says, the SSA has pivoted to the fall schedule “as published.”