MTD Pulse

Precautions for Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Autumn Soliman

MTD's Maintenance team disinfects all District vehicles with electrostatic sprayers on a regular basis, in addition to their daily sanitation procedures.
MTD's Maintenance team disinfects all District vehicles with electrostatic sprayers on a regular basis, in addition to their daily sanitation procedures.

UPDATED 4/10/2020 - As COVID-19 continues to spread across the United States, the Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District (MTD) is taking several steps to better protect all employees and passengers. We are monitoring the situation very closely through regular contact with the Champaign County Public Health District and the Champaign County Emergency Management Agency, as well as other valued community partners, municipalities, and public officials.

With the confirmed transmission of COVID-19 in Champaign County, we understand there may be concerns about safety in public spaces, and as a result, we have implemented a more robust sanitation process for our fleet.

Our vehicles are cleaned every day, but as a precaution, we have introduced a deep cleaning procedure to disinfect our vehicles using electrostatic sprayers. The sprayers use medical-grade Husky 814 Q/T Tuberculocidal disinfectant solution (EPA-Registered #1839-83 - Approved for Use Against COVID-19) to eliminate everything, from tuberculosis to coronavirus, on treated surfaces. These sprayers emit the solution with a static electric charge, which allows it to adhere to everything, including cracks and crevices throughout the vehicle’s interior.

MTD buses are being fully sanitized twice a week; however, we are prepared to increase those efforts as needed. Pit Crews have been assigned to our transfer points and other locations in the community to disinfect high-touch surfaces, like door handles and stanchions, throughout each day. 

Vans for ADA Paratransit, C-CARTS, and DRES are on a more rigorous daily sanitation schedule because these services tend to transport more vulnerable populations including elderly riders, people with weakened immune systems, and those with underlying health conditions.

Illinois Terminal's Team has increased frequency of disinfecting surfaces using BNC-15, an EPA-registered product tested and proven to eliminate everything, from tuberculosis to coronavirus, on treated surfaces. All surfaces are disinfected a minimum of two times per shift, and high usage areas and surfaces are disinfected a minimum of four times per shift. The Team is also monitoring guest areas and disinfecting particular locations if someone is seen exhibiting symptoms, like coughing or sneezing. Touch free hand sanitizer dispensers are placed in all guest areas and are available to employees.

Illinois Terminal also has an electrostatic sprayer to disinfect large areas. Large areas, including guest seating, are disinfected nightly using the electrostatic device. Illinois Terminal Staff are in close and regular coordination with our tenants to address concerns and accommodate service changes.

The CDC reports that people in places where ongoing community spread of COVID-19 has been reported, like Champaign County, are at elevated risk of exposure, with the level of risk dependent on the location. To that end, MTD has taken steps to protect our passengers and employees. We have provided our frontline employees with individual bottles of hand sanitizer to use when soap and water are unavailable, because hand washing is the first line of defense recommended by the CDC.

Because the CDC now also recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings, MTD will be supplying our employees with a set of these cloth face coverings to use during operation of their routes. These cloth coverings will not be surgical masks or N-95 respirators, as medical equipment must be reserved for healthcare use only. 

Along with the temporary implementation of rear door boarding, which began on Wednesday, March 25, MTD’s responses have also included:

  • Fare-Free rides to eliminate direct contact for fares and transfers
  • Reduced service to account for the University of Illinois and school cancellations
  • Larger vehicles employed to allow space for social distancing on board
  • Additional buses placed for backup to prevent capacity issues

MTD will continue to follow the advice given by public health officials, and we ask our passengers to do the same:

Protecting yourself

  • Clean your hands often - wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Wear cloth face coverings in public settings

Protecting others

  • Stay home if you are sick, except to get medical care
    • Call your doctor or nurse hotline to determine if in-person care is needed to avoid overwhelming our local health care facilities
    • Cover coughs and sneezes
    • Throw used tissues in the trash and wash your hands immediately after
    • Wear cloth face coverings in public settings
    • Continue to keep about 6 feet between yourself and others. The cloth face cover is not a substitute for social distancing.

Clean and disinfect

  • Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
  • If surfaces are dirty, clean them: Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.

Take steps to help medical personnel

  • The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings. These cloth coverings should not be surgical masks or N-95 respirators, as medical equipment must be reserved for healthcare use only.
  • If you are sick, an initial phone consultation with your doctor’s office may help prevent the spread of illness but also alleviate congestion in medical facilities. 
  • While there is currently no vaccination against COVID-19, if you have not had a flu or pneumonia shot, you can still get one to protect yourself from other illnesses. Preventing the flu and pneumonia can help medical facilities avoid overcrowding.

Preparing your household

  • Refill prescription medications in case your household falls under quarantine. Call your doctor to see if a three-month prescription can be ordered.
  • Prepare to stay in your home for two weeks or more, with critical items including food, hygiene items, over-the-counter medication, and pet supplies.
  • Stay up to date with information and guidelines from public officials.

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