SSA employee tests positive for COVID-19

An employee assigned to the MV Katama tested positive for COVID-19. - Rich Saltzberg

A Steamship Authority employee assigned to the MV Katama has tested positive for COVID-19, according to a press release issued Tuesday.

The individual, whom the SSA is not naming to ensure privacy, is the fourth SSA employee to test positive within the past month, and the second employee assigned to the Katama. 

“The employee last worked on the vessel on the watch that began with the 11:05 am trip on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020, and ended with the vessel’s 10:35 am arrival in Woods Hole on Monday, Nov. 30, 2020,” the release states. “The employee subsequently developed symptoms of COVID-19 and obtained a ‘rapid test’ on Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020. The results of the test were positive, and the employee immediately notified the Authority.”

The time frame coincides with a busy travel day at the end of the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, but the SSA release indicates the risk to the traveling public is low.

“Due to their typical work duties, the employee was unlikely to have any prolonged exposure with any member of the public during their work hours,” the release states. “The Authority has notified vessel employees who were in close contact with the affected employee. Those employees will not be allowed to return to work until after they receive a negative test result or are cleared to work by a medical professional.”

The SSA does not expect any operational changes or interruptions in service as a result. Cleaning protocols that have been in place for months will continue, the release states.