After two incidents in the past week of employees testing positive for COVID-19, Steamship Authority general manager Robert Davis said the ferry service continues to do what it can to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
On Thursday an employee on the MV Martha’s Vineyard tested positive. Three days later, the SSA reported an employee of the Island Home tested positive. In both cases, the individuals were not named for privacy reasons.
At a board meeting on Tuesday, Davis updated board members on the protocols in place, including sanitizing the terminals, vessels, and buses. Deeper cleanings are done every night, he added. On the ferries and in buses, the number of passengers has been reduced to allow for social distancing.
According to Davis, employees undergo health screenings, and are asked to stay home if they’re not feeling well.
Davis said the SSA requires passengers to wear masks, though he acknowledged that enforcing mask use continues to be a challenge. “Some individuals, as soon as the staff member is out of sight, they’ll remove their masks,” Davis said.
Asked by Falmouth representative Kathryn Wilson whether the cases involved transmission during work or off-duty, Davis said it appears the employees were infected while they were not working. “The recent one seems to be from other sources than on the vessels or at work,” Davis told her.
Davis also pointed out that when an employee on a vessel tests positive, the watch crew that served with the individual is also told to quarantine until they get a negative test result.
“That should be of some comfort to people whose kids are taking the ferries,” board chairman James Malkin, who represents the Island, said.