A woman walks past the Georgia Theatre in downtown Athens after the business closed amid coronavirus concerns. The city has been under a shelter-in-place order since March 19. 
Photo: John Bazemore/AP
Photo: John Bazemore/AP

Athens transit employee tests positive for COVID-19, city says

Authorities are advising anyone who recently visited an Athens transit center to monitor for symptoms of the coronavirus after a city employee tested positive.

The city announced Monday that an employee in the transit department reported a positive result to their supervisor after testing for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel virus. The employee was working at the Multimodal Transportation Center on East Broad Street between March 17 and March 23, according to city officials.

The facility serves as a transfer spot for Athens-Clarke County transit buses and University of Georgia buses. Its interior has been closed to the public since March 18.

Anyone who came in contact with a city employee near the outside covered bus loading area on those dates should monitor for symptoms, officials said in a news release.

“The individual was not hospitalized and is currently recovering at home,” the release said. “Several employees who had close contact with the individual are currently under self-quarantining protocol until April 7, but are not showing any symptoms.”

Symptoms of COVID-19 may appear two to 14 days after exposure and may include fever, cough and shortness of breath, according to the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Officials believe the risk of transmission to the public is low because the employee had limited public contact and kept distancing protocols as much as possible. 

Athens-Clarke County is under a state of emergency declaration, and residents are ordered to stay at home except for essential activities. Since March 18, Athens transit buses have been on limited routes and are undergoing regular, rigorous cleaning. 

According to the city, transit bus services will continue to operate fare free on a reduced weekend service between 7:30 a.m. and 9:45 p.m., seven days a week. Specific routes, descriptions and schedules are available at www.accgov.com/transit.  

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