NJ Transit increasing cleaning measures amid COVID-19 outbreak

Protocols are in place for disinfecting and cleansing vehicles

NJ Transit issued a March update on the precautionary measures taken by the agency in response to COVID-19, the novel coronavirus.

The measures ensure that the agency is taking all appropriate precautions to protect employees and customers and that the system of rail, bus, light rail and Access Link vehicles remain safe to use.

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NJ Transit provides approximately 925,000 weekday trips on 253 bus routes, three light rail lines, 12 commuter rail lines, and through Access Link paratransit service.

It’s vital that the agency take appropriate steps to ensure that COVID-19 does not spread to residents through NJ Transit’s various means of transportation.

In accordance with Gov. Phil Murphy’s executive order creating the Coronavirus Task Force, NJ Transit has been working with administration officials, state agencies, and departments to ensure the health and safety of customers, employees, and the state’s residents.

According to NJ Transit, an internal task force was formed that includes trained staff from its Medical, Office of Emergency Management, Environmental, Safety, and  Communications departments, and all operating lines.

“NJ Transit’s internal task force is meeting regularly and sharing the most up-to-date information obtained from state and federal health officials,” said NJ TRANSIT President & CEO Kevin Corbett. “We will continue to coordinate with the state’s coronavirus task force and are prepared to take any and all steps necessary to protect the health and safety of our customers and employees.”

The agency is closely monitoring news about COVID-19, according to a statement by NJ Transit. Meanwhile, a number of preventative sanitary measures have been put in effect to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Preventative measures

According to NJ Transit, operating units have in place clear protocols and procedures for the cleaning and disinfection of rolling stock, vehicles, and public facilities.

NJ Transit rail, bus, light rail, and Access Link will enhance current cleaning procedures to augment daily current practices and additional disinfection regimens. Hard surface cleaning and disinfecting typically includes handholds, arm rests, seating areas, and restrooms.

The frequency of cleaning regimens has increased for all stations, using cleaning agents that are deemed effective for these purposes and contain anti-viral components, such as bleach/water mixes and other disinfectant sprays and liquids.

Areas regularly cleaned include doors, doorknobs, windows, benches, partitions, trashcans, elevators, escalators, handrails, ledges, all restrooms and floor surfaces, and all floor mats.

NJ Transit is closely engaged with the New Jersey Department of Health and other state and federal resources to carefully monitor, and if need be, respond to emergent health concerns that impact customers and employees.

NJ Transit also referenced the CDC guidelines to prevent the spread of the virus. According to the CDC, the best way to combat COVID-19 is to wash your hands.

The CDC recommends that you wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol. The CDC recommends always washing hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

Practicing other good health habits is another way to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food to help the body prevent the onset of respiratory illnesses like COVID-19, according to the CDC.

Other preventative measures that can be taken to minimize the risk of infection include disinfecting doorknobs, switches, handles, computers, telephones, bedside tables, bathroom sinks, toilets, counters, toys, and other surfaces that are commonly touched around the home or workplace.

As of March 10, one man has died of COVID-19 in New Jersey and 29 residents have tested positive for the virus, according to Murphy. There are two cases of COVID-19 in Hudson County involving residents from West New York and Jersey City.

For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at disrael@hudsonreporter.com.

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