Middletown bus driver tested positive for coronavirus, caused health department alert

The Butler County Regional Transit Authority confirmed a bus driver on a Middletown route contracted the coronavirus, which caused the county’s health department to ask riders from a certain period to self-monitor.

On Wednesday, Health Commissioner Jennifer Bailer issued a warning that some people who have been riding buses in Middletown may have been exposed to the coronavirus.

Butler County Regional Transit Authority Executive Director Matt Dutkevicz confirmed a driver has tested positive for the disease.

“We’re following all the procedures we’re doing as much as we possibly can,” Dutkevicz told the Journal-News. “There’s always an inherent risk to traveling in public and going out. But I think we have mitigated as many risks as we possibly can.”

He noted money is not changing hands because all the fixed route buses went fare-free in March so all passengers embark and disembark through secondary exits not near the drivers.

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“I think anybody who was riding those buses had a very low chance of contracting anything,” he said. “But for the sake or transparency and being a public agency we wanted to make sure we share information.”

Health district officials said people who were on the blue and green lines in Middletown during the hours of 6:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., from May 27 to June 5, are asked to self-monitor for 14 days after their last ride on any of these routes.

Bailer agreed the risk is low but people with compromised immune systems should be aware.

“As we’ve learned more about COVID-19 transmission we now know that one’s risk increases if 15 minutes or more is spent within six feet of someone that has COVID-19,” Bailer said. “Brief interactions are less likely to result in transmission, so the risk for spreading COVID-19 in this specific case is low.”

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