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October 17, 2014

DART addressing Ebola issue

We are following the evolving Ebola situation and are working to do all we can to ensure a safe environment for you, our customers and the general public.

Two DART employees have been connected with persons who have been exposed to or are carrying the Ebola virus. One of the employees is a bus operator who notified us of being a passenger on the plane from Cleveland with a nurse currently undergoing treatment for Ebola. The operator learned of his possible exposure from media accounts and notified us after contacting the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). However, this was after he had completed his shift Wednesday morning. Although the operator was not displaying symptoms at the time, and based on CDC information would not be able to transmit the virus, we will attempt to contact customers who were on the bus during his shift. The bus he was operating was immediately removed from service for cleaning.

Both DART employees are considered low risk by the CDC since they have had no direct contact with any of the individuals with the virus. Nevertheless, they were sent home as soon as they told us of their situations. They will remain there until it is determined they are not carrying the virus and are no longer at risk of carrying it. We will stay in touch with them throughout this process.

Information from Centers from Disease Control and the World Health Organization indicates the risk of contracting the Ebola virus in a transit setting, compared with cold and flu viruses is comparatively low. It is especially low when we all practice common sense hygiene -- especially during the cold and flu season. The virus doesn't travel through the air, like the cold and flu. President Obama made that same point in a statement on Wednesday, Oct. 15, "You cannot get it from casual contact, like sitting next to someone on a bus."

We have retrained our vehicle and facility cleaning crews on the proper cleaning protocols consistent with our administrative policies on hazardous materials, blood borne pathogens and infectious diseases and are working with them to make sure they're carried out. This also includes the proper use of personal protective equipment.

We remain in contact with local, state and federal healthcare and emergency management officials for updated advice. If needed, we will adjust our actions to make sure we're keeping you and our customers safe.

We join local, state and federal officials in urging customers to remember their risk of exposure is low and to remain calm.

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