MORE: Real-time stats and the latest news on the coronavirus outbreak
Though Ferguson is the first MARTA employee to die from COVID-19, 22 workers have tested positive for the disease so far. Parker’s note to employees said three have recovered, three are hospitalized and 15 are recovering at home.
Parker said Ferguson’s partner, also a MARTA employee, is among those recovering at home.
Dozens of other MARTA employees have been sent home for monitoring because they were in close contact with those who tested positive.
Across the country, dozens of transit workers have died during the pandemic. The deaths come as transit agencies try to provide an essential service for people without cars, and for health care professionals and other essential workers who rely on buses and trains to get to their jobs.
In his note to employees, Parker said MARTA will provide a $5,000 life insurance supplement to defray funeral expenses for any employee who dies as a result of COVID-19.
MARTA has taken numerous steps to protect employees and passengers. The agency has stepped up cleaning of trains, buses and stations. It has been boarding passengers at the rear of buses to separate them from drivers. It has provided wipes and hand sanitizer to employees, and it recently began distributing 250,000 masks.
MARTA also has granted up to 80 hours of emergency paid leave to employees affected by the disease. And last week it announced $500 "hero" bonuses for employees who can't work from home.