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Man tested for coronavirus removed from a TRAX car

Utah Transit Authority announced it would be temporarily reducing service starting next month, in response to decreased ridership amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (UTA Headquarters in Salt Lake City. Credit: Paul Nelson)

SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah Transit Authority is asking riders to be mindful of other passengers and avoid using public transportation when they’re sick.  A man had to be removed from a TRAX car after healthcare workers were concerned about him using the train.

Officials say the man in question went to a facility at the University of Utah to be tested for COVID-19 Tuesday night.  The results of that test have not come back, but health workers were reportedly concerned with the man’s symptoms.  Utah Transit Authority Spokesman Carl Arky said the staff didn’t want him boarding a bus, but, he was somehow able to get on a TRAX train on the Red line.

“We don’t know if he was diagnosed with the virus or infected with the virus, but, it was enough of a concern,” Arky said.

The apparently ill man didn’t make it very far before officers spotted him.

“From what I understand, they contacted UTA Police and we removed the gentleman.  I think he had gone as far as one more stop”, Arky said.

Arky confirmed the car was removed from the train so it could be cleaned and disinfected.  He said all of their buses and trains are cleaned every night, but there is only so much UTA can do to ensure passenger safety.  Arky said they can’t just shut down their services, even though ridership has dropped a bit.

“Frontrunner is down quite a bit.  TRAX is down a significant amount.  But, buses are still being used.  People are still there,” he said.

UTA is considering having passengers board the buses from the rear entrance, which would protect drivers.  Also, they have signs in place asking people to maintain safe distance from each other and to avoid using mass transit when they’re ill.  However, they don’t have the resources to put officers on every bus and train to enforce these recommendations.  Arky said it’s up to all of us to ensure these measures are followed.

“How much can we police that?  That’s a good question.  It’s hard to say.”

State health officials say people don’t need to be tested for COVID-19 simply because they were in the same room or same bus as someone who may be infected.  They say testing people when they’re not showing symptoms may lead to inaccurate results.

 

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