As more and more cases are reported of people contracting the virus that causes COVID-19 — better known as the coronavirus — in New York City, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority is doing something about it.
MTA officials say they are updating all of its sanitizing protocols system-wide, including how often it deep cleans trains, buses and stations. It affects not only buses and subways, but also Access-A-Ride, the Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North.
That means daily cleanings for buses and trains, and full sanitization every 72 hours.
“We are committed to doing everything we can to keep in front of the situation and protect our customers and employees,” said Patrick Foye, MTA’s chairman and chief executive, in a release. “We have enacted additional cleaning protocols designed to disinfect our stations, trains, buses, and Access-A-Ride vehicles. Working in coordination with the governor and state and federal health authorities, we continue to aggressively monitor the situation and take all necessary actions to ensure our system remains safe.”
New York has had at least two confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the last few days, including a father in Westchester County who has sons both at SAR High School in North Riverdale, as well as Yeshiva University in Washington Heights. That prompted SAR to close down its two campuses on Tuesday as a precaution against the disease that has spread through several Asian countries, and is now starting to show up in both the United States and Europe.
The deep clean of stations includes all 472 that are part of the city’s subways, the 21 along the Staten Island Railway, the 124 for LIRR, and the 101 serving Metro-North.
In addition to removing stains, soil and surface dirt, cleaners will disinfect commonly touched surfaces including turnstiles, slam gates, handrails, benches, elevator buttons, and MetroCard and ticket vending machines.
As if people didn’t have enough to worry about when it comes to virus outbreaks, but now the state’s consumer protection division is warning people to be wary of scams surrounding COVID-19.
Scammers are using fake emails that contain links designed to steal personal information, officials said. Some of these links claim to have updates on the virus, and even claim to have databases on where confirmed cases are.
Those links, however, are designed to phish information from people, officials said, while providing no helpful information.
Officials warn to not click links in emails from sources you don’t know. Be aware of emails coming from unknown senders. And ignore offers online for vaccinations.
Also be aware of emails asking for donations, or those offering “investment opportunities.”
Those looking for the latest on COVID-19 can visit Health.ny.gov.