A Steamship Authority employee assigned to the MV Island Home has tested positive for COVID-19, the authority was informed Monday. As a result, the SSA is taking additional preventive steps to ensure the safety of the public and its employees.
The positive result is the fifth COVID case involving an SSA employee since Dec. 30. All of the recent cases have involved employees working in some capacity having to do with the Martha’s Vineyard route.
The name of the employee and the individual’s position within the company are being withheld to ensure private health information remains confidential, according to the release.
“The employee last worked on the vessel starting on the 1:15 pm trip from Woods Hole on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, and ending with the vessel’s 12:45 pm arrival in Woods Hole on Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021,” the release states. “The crew member subsequently felt ill, and received a rapid test for COVID-19 on Monday, Jan. 11, 2021; after receiving the positive test result, the employee immediately notified the authority.”
According to the release, the Barnstable County Department of Health and Environment and Cape Cod Healthcare have agreed to arrange for COVID-19 testing for those vessel employees who have been identified as being in close contact with the affected employee. Those employees will not be allowed to return to work until after a negative test result is received or they are cleared to work by a medical professional.
“Having the Barnstable County Department of Health and Environment and Cape Cod Healthcare as partners has been key to our efforts to keep our crews and passengers safe since the onset of the pandemic,” general manager Robert Davis said in the release. “They are true assets to the Steamship Authority and the entire community.”
No operational changes or interruptions are anticipated as a result of this incident, the release states. “The SSA continues to use hospital-grade disinfectants on board all vessels to perform a cleaning of both public and employee areas,” according to the release. “The cleaning is part of the precautionary measures taken daily by the authority’s terminal employees and vessel crews to thoroughly clean and disinfect all high-touch areas, including hand railings, tabletops, door handles, seats, faucets, and toilets. In addition, crews are assigned nightly to perform cleaning and disinfectant measures onboard the vessels.”