MTA Chairman Foye tests positive for coronavirus, eight employees die

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MTA Chairman and CEO Patrick Foye tested positive for the coronavirus on Saturday, according to a release sent out by the agency. (Photo by Janelle Clausen)

Metropolitan Transportation Authority Chairman and CEO Patrick Foye tested positive for the coronavirus Saturday, the agency said.

MTA spokeswoman Abbey Collins said Foye worked remotely this past Thursday and Friday, “following a previously arranged schedule.”

“Pat is currently isolating at home, feeling good,” Collins said in a statement. “All MTA staff have been observing recommended guidelines put in place by the New York State Department of Health, including social distancing.”

“Pat’s top priority remains the health and safety of our customers and employees and ensuring New York’s healthcare workers, first responders, and other essential personnel can get to and from work during this public health crisis,” Collins said.

The MTA said Friday the agency had advised its 74,000 employees to stay home if they were feeling sick. Extreme caution is being used to ensure workers who came into close contact with potential cases to self-quarantine and disinfect their workspaces.

At least 156 other employees tested positive as of Thursday, according to the MTA and another 1,181 were in self-quarantine.

Eight MTA employees have died due to complications from the coronavirus, including five deaths reported by the agency Monday.

Foye discussed precautions and measures the agency has taken to ensure the safety of bus operators last Monday on WCBS 880.

“Passengers will be asked to board [the buses] from the rear,” Foye said. “And the area around the driver will be cordoned off, therefore, limiting contact between passengers and bus operators.”

On Friday, the MTA also announced the procurement of 75,000 N95 masks for the agency’s workforce.

The supply, distributed to New York City Transit, MTA Bus, Long Island Rail Road, and Metro-North Railroad, is expected to increase to allow weekly replenishment. 

“Obtaining a large number of masks for our incredible MTA workforce is great news and I know comes as a relief to many,” Foye said in a statement. “The men and women of the MTA are absolute heroes for the work they continue to do day in and day out during this crisis.”

We’ve been working very hard to try and secure masks for transit workers during what has been widely reported as a global shortage of supplies,” Transport Workers Union Local 100 President Tony Utano said. “This has been a very traumatic time for my members and I hope these masks will give them some peace of mind as they continue providing essential bus and subway service to New York, especially for our nurses, EMS personnel, firefighters and police.”

This week, each MTA entity rolled out modified schedules to reduce the number of work crews on-site at once. The modified schedule provides scheduling flexibility to allow a reduction in needed crews, the agency said in the release.

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