One employee, a bus operator who worked for Port Authority for 21 years, died on Sun., Dec. 6 after testing positive for COVID-19 on Fri., Dec. 4. He was 57 years old. A second operator, who died on Mon., Dec. 7, tested positive on Nov. 25, the day after he last worked. He was 34 years old.
In a press release, Port Authority CEO Katharine Kelleman expressed condolences for the employees.
“Today, our hearts are broken. We are mourning the loss of two members of the Port Authority family,” said Kelleman in a statement. "On behalf of Port Authority’s Board and the entire agency, we extend our deepest sympathies to their families and loved ones. Their commitment to serve customers was truly emblematic of all of our frontline employees."
Since the pandemic first hit the Pittsburgh area, Port Authority has been operating with adjusted conditions, mandating masks for all riders and operators, and limiting capacity on buses. After initially implementing boarding from the rear doors of buses, which limited interactions with bus operators and made bus riding effectively free, Port Authority reinstated front-door boarding and regular fares in June.
The press release reported that 127 Port Authority employees tested positive for COVID-19 since Nov. 1, and that 186 total employees have tested positive since the beginning of the pandemic.