Update on COVID-19 | View Alert

MCTS has suspended fare collection. Riders must now enter and exit the bus through the back door only, unless ADA access is needed. Remember, only ride the bus if you HAVE to. Read more here.

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Information for MCTS Employees About Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)

 

Nothing is more important than the health and safety of our employees and customers. That’s why the Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS) is constantly in contact with local, state, and federal officials in regards to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). Click here to view our public-facing webpage with updates about COVID-19 and see below for important information specifically for employees.

Current System Schedule

MCTS is currently operating on a Saturday schedule with some modifications. Additionally, there is no Freeway Flyer service or school trippers

 

Current Boarding and Fare Procedure 

  • All passengers boarding or alighting the bus shall do so using the rear door only. Passengers using mobility devices or those requesting the use of the ramp will be allowed to board and alight through the front door. To open the rear door from the driver’s seat, please turn on the rear door override switch, located on the left-side control panel, and move the door control handle to the rear position as you would normally do to allow passengers to alight.
  • Fare collection is temporarily suspended, and fare boxes should not be turned on. All passengers will be allowed to ride free of charge. Please do not accept or attempt to collect any fares including cash, M·CARDS or passes.
  • If you have any questions, please contact your Station Supervisor or Division Manager.
Safer at Home Order

Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers has officially enacted his ‘Safer At Home’ order, causing nonessential businesses across the state to close in order to slow the spread of coronavirus.

The governor says he has directed Department of Health Services (DHS) Secretary-designee Andrea Palm to issue a Safer at Home order that prohibits all nonessential travel, with some exceptions as clarified and defined in the order.

The order goes into effect at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, March 25, and is set to remain in effect until 8 a.m. Friday, April 24, or until a superseding order is issued.

For purposes of this Order, individuals may leave their residence to provide any services or perform any work necessary to offer, provide, operate, maintain, and repair Essential Infrastructure (such as mass transit). 

Critical Labor Union Functions
Essential activities include the administration of health and welfare funds and personnel checking on the well-being and safety of members providing services in Essential Business and Operations, provided the checks are done by telephone or remotely where possible.

Social Distancing Requirements
For purposes of this Order, Social Distancing Requirements includes maintaining social distancing of six (6) feet between people; washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds as frequently as possible or using hand sanitizer; covering coughs or sneezes (into the sleeve or elbow, not hands); regularly cleaning high-touch surfaces; not shaking hands; and following all other public health recommendations issued by DHS and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

Letters from Dan Boehm

March 22nd: A letter from Dan Boehm, President and Managing Director:

Thank you for your commitment to the mission of transit. Appreciation for what YOU do runs deep. On March 20, 2020, Roundy’s (Pick ‘n Save and Metro Market stores) messaged the Milwaukee County Transportation, Public Works and Transit Committee about how essential MCTS is to them.

“Many of our associates who work at our nine City of Milwaukee store locations rely on bus service to get to work each day. With the unprecedented surge in demand, we find ourselves in the midst of a labor shortage. If cancellations occurred, it would devastate our City of Milwaukee work force at a time when the public needs our presence more than ever.”

The letter goes on to say. . .“We would greatly appreciate your support in helping our associates who rely on MCTS service. . .”

MCTS is undoubtedly helping Roundy’s to serve the community. We are also helping employees get to other essential business such as hospitals, clinics and pharmacies. At a time like this, we are all connected. I know that there are countless ways in which we are keeping Milwaukee strong.

Take the case of a nurse or Doctor that treats COVID-19 patients, who may only be at work because her child was safely left at a daycare that is staffed by a childcare professional who arrived at work using MCTS. The connections work because of you. You might not think of yourselves as heroes. . . but that is how many in our community see you.

We will successfully reduce weekday service in response to decreased demand, because MCTS and ATU are working together. Senior staff and those employees at a higher risk for complications of the virus have shifted onto the new supplemental paid leave while we keep the system running because we are all working together. Cooperation is critical at a time like this. Cooperation will make us stronger now, and in the future.

Finally, MCTS administrators have been working for weeks to order needed supplies. It is disappointing to report that our success in this area has been very limited, but we will keep working at it, and begin to communicate better with you on this topic. We also know that business closures are reducing bathroom locations too. We will also work on solutions to this problem for you. We are connected, and we are all in this together.

Thank you for the work that you do every day.

- Dan Boehm, President & Managing Director

March 20th: A letter from Dan Boehm, President and Managing Director:

It is with concern for our workforce, and a need to communicate about the seriousness of the virus that I share with you today, that an MCTS employee has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus.

Yesterday, March 19, 2020, MCTS was informed that one of our employees had symptoms that were consistent with COVID-19 and that they were being tested. We contacted the Milwaukee Health Department (MHD) to inquire about whether they were aware of the status of the patient, and whether the test result had returned. MHD told MCTS that they did not yet have confirmation but that they would notify MCTS as soon as they were made aware of the patient’s test result or any other MCTS employee having tested positive for the virus.

Today, MHD informed MCTS that the patient’s test result was positive for COVID-19. MHD then asked for MCTS’s help. They had already interviewed the employee about their job and focused in on the period of time starting three (3) days prior to the onset of symptoms. MCTS helped to identify for MHD, those employees who may have been exposed based on their work, primarily consisting of those bus operators that relieved on the road following the patient. MHD is in the process of contacting employees that may have been exposed to the virus. Please be assured that MHD keeps the names of patients and potential contacts private.

In addition to helping MHD, we are also following their recommendations to keep the station facility clean, and regularly sanitize facilities and vehicles. MHD also stated that MCTS employees, especially bus operators who relieve on the road, should adopt the Centers for Disease Controls (CDC) recommendation to clean and disinfect touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe. Given the nation-wide shortage of sanitizing gels and wipes, MCTS is not currently able to provide these materials to employees but encourages operators to follow the CDC recommendations. Buses are sanitized during the evening cleaning, but bus operators need to take precautions when they relieve on the road.

MHD also stated that driver shields provide an excellent barrier for both bus operators and passengers. Passengers on a bus that was driven by a patient that tested positive are not considered by MHD to be “at risk”. MHD’s comments about the shield also provides some assurance to MCTS that there is minimal risk of exposure to the virus from passenger contact with bus operators. MCTS will continue to monitor the sick list daily for employees who are reporting symptoms of COVID-19 and rely on MHD to provide verification of patients who test positive. As you receive this letter, MCTS is planning to reduce transit services to a Saturday schedule on weekdays to limit the number of bus operators that are in service, including relieving on the road.

The safety and security of you, your family, the residents we serve and all of Milwaukee County are of the highest priority. Your continued commitment to service and patience as we deal with this global pandemic and the challenges that it is presenting to our community is commendable. Thank you for the work that you do every day.

- Dan Boehm, President & Managing Director

March 16th: A letter from Dan Boehm, President and Managing Director:

As you all know, a national emergency has been declared over the COVID-19 outbreak. It is critial we all do our part to slow the spread of COVID-19 so that hospitals and clinics have the opportunity to carefuly treat those that become infected, especially those who are at a higher risk of developing serious illness. Although this is a health emergency, it is not a time for panic. Most people who become infected are expected to recover without needing special treatment, but these same individuals may unknowingly spread the virus to those more vulnerable. Older people and anyone with serious medical conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes and lung disease are at a significant risk of becoming severely ill.

If you are in a high-risk category, or live with someone that is, please take all necessary precautions. We are taking steps to help control the spread of the virus. MCTS is encouraging the community to limit non-essential travel on MCTS buses, use an electronic fare payment (M-card or App) rather than paying cash and exit through the back door to limit the time that passengers are near to the operator compartment. In addition, passengers will be reminded that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) advises anyone with fever, cough or shortness of breath to not go out in public, and to not take public transportation.

It is equally important that older employees, especially those with pre-existing health conditions that place them in a higher risk from COVID-19 stay home. We are also exploring telecommuting for office employees to help prevent the spread of the virus.

In other nations where COVID-19 spread widely, hospitals, clinics, pharmacies, and grocery stores are some of the only businesses allowed to remain open. The federal government is contemplating a similar 'hunkering down' for the United States. Until we know whether these conditions will apply here, we need to commit to maintaining MCTS services so that workers that keep those places running can get to their jobs. We must also keep our employees safe so that MCTS can be a solution during these challenging times. I realize that taking steps to protect our employees may mean less service on the street. It's still the right thing to do. I know that we can protect the employees that are most vulnerable among us, and still proudly serve Milwaukee County.

As situations change day to day, I ask all employees: focus on your own health and safety and be patient as we navigate the uncertainty ahead. We must protect our employees and families, so that we can be a source of strength for our community when it needs it most.

More information will be coming in the days ahead. Thank you for the job that you do every day!

- Dan Boehm, President & Managing Director

Sick Call Procedure Information

Please follow regular departmental call-in procedures during the COVID-19 emergency.  Your supervisor or station clerk will need to record additional information for pay coding purposes. Please click the link below for more information. 

Sick Call Procedure 

Company Policies

Important Documents (Supplemental Paid Leave & Travel)

March 17th: Two new COVID-19 Company Policies will be implemented, effective immediately, to make it easier for you to prioritize your health and wellness, as well as the safety and security of the people we serve.  Those are (click on buttons below to access):

  1. Travel Policy: Based on the recommendation of leading public health officials, MCTS is restricting employee airline travel per the attached.
  2. Supplemental Paid Leave Policy:  Employees are being granted an additional bank of leave time to be used in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Travel Policy Special Leave Policy

 

Employee Benefits & Payroll

Benefits

Employees and retirees may send paperwork, forms, or requests via interoffice mail, fax to 414-344-2876, or scan and email to HRBenefits@mcts.org.  An HR/Benefits representative will follow up accordingly. If the person has a need to speak with someone in HR/Benefits, they may call 937-3299 and leave a message.  The Benefits Team will retrieve messages, emails, faxes and mail on a regular basis and process all requests timely. 

Payroll

Please see the following forms from the Payroll Department. Employees and retirees with Payroll related matters may call 414-937-3226 and leave a message, fax to 414-343-1751, or send an email to Payroll@mcts.org.  A Payroll representative will follow up accordingly.

Payroll Request Form 2020 W-4 Tax Form

ACH Form or Direct Deposit Form State Tax Form

United Healthcare Virtual Visits

No matter where you are, Virtual Visit lets you talk with a doctor by video 24/7. If needed, a Virtual Visit doctor can treat and prescribe medication for everyday illnesses like the flu, sinus infections, a cough and more. Click the link below to learn more.

Virtual Visits 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How Can I Stay Healthy?

Follow CDC recommendations including:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with tissue or elbow
  • Throw used tissues in the trash 
  • Leave as much room as possible between yourself and others (social distancing)
  • Disinfect your work area as much as possible

What is Social Distancing?

Social distancing is deliberately increasing the physical space between people to avoid spreading illness. Staying at least six feet away from other people lessens your chance of contracting COVID-19.

Social distancing can help slow the spread of COVID-19.

Is the COVID-19 test covered under my insurance?

The COVID-19 test is covered at 100% under UnitedHealthcare.  The UHC member must contact their primary physician right away if they have the COVID-19 symptoms and the next steps will go from there, which may include their doctor ordering them to be tested.

Is there a treatment for 2019-nCoV?

At present, there is no specific treatment or vaccine for 2019-nCoV and diagnostic testing for the virus is currently being conducted only at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) labs. Please speak to your provider about whether or not you need testing. Supportive care for affected individuals may include hydration, supplemental oxygen or mechanical ventilation for severe illness.

Where do I get the COVID-19 test?

If your health care provider determines you should be tested for COVID-19 and orders the test, they should work with local and state health departments to coordinate testing. The most common place for testing is the health care provider’s office or clinic. Also, several large retail outlets and drug stores will soon be offering drive-up testing in their parking lots. Your test may be sent to certain commercial labs authorized to perform the testing, a local public health laboratory, or the CDC.

For more information from United Health Center, please click here.

What are the current COVID-19 testing guidelines?​

From the State of Wisconsin Department of Health Services Division of Public Health, dated March 17, 2020

With the increased number of cases of COVID-19 reported nationally and the growing likelihood of widespread community transmission in all areas of the country, the number of people requiring testing for COVID-19 is increasing significantly. 

Going forward, DHS and WSLH & MHDL will only test Tier 1 and Tier 2 specimens (see table below). 

It should be emphasized to patients and providers that there is no role for testing asymptomatic individuals. Testing should be reserved for making a diagnosis of COVID-19 in patients suspected of having the disease, in order to inform clinical management and infection control decisions. Testing is NOT recommended for patients with mild, upper respiratory symptoms, except in limited circumstances. Patients without significant comorbidities, and who are not health care workers, should not be tested if they have mild illnesses for which they would not normally seek medical care. It should be recommended that these patients self-isolate at home until their symptoms improve. 

 

Table 1. Priority levels for COVID-19 testing. 

Tier One: 

  • Patient is critically ill and receiving ICU level care with unexplained viral pneumonia or respiratory failure -OR- 
  • Patient is hospitalized (non-ICU) with fever or signs and symptoms of lower respiratory tract illness (cough, shortness of breath) AND either of the following high risk conditions: 
  • Known exposure to a laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 patient 
  • Travel to an area where sustained community transmission has been identified 

Tier Two: 

  • Hospitalized (non-ICU) patients and long-term care residents with unexplained fever AND signs/symptoms of a lower respiratory tract illness -OR- 
  • Health care workers with unexplained fever AND signs/symptoms of a lower-respiratory tract illness, regardless of hospitalization 

Tier Three: 

  • Patient is in an outpatient setting and meets criteria for influenza testing. This includes individuals with comorbid conditions including diabetes, COPD, congestive heart failure, age >50, immunocompromised hosts among others -OR- 
  • Health care workers with mild upper respiratory symptoms (rhinorrhea, congestion, sore throat) without fever 

Tier Four: 

  • Other patients, as directed by public health or infection control authorities (e.g. community surveillance or public health investigations) 

Are there online screening tools?

Apple's new COVID-19 website and app allow users to screen themselves for coronavirus symptoms and receive recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on what to do next.

The tool was developed in partnership with the CDC, the White House's coronavirus task force and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. 

Should I social distance, isolate or quarantine? What's the difference? What should I do if I have ‘presumptive’ COVID-19 symptoms?​

There’s a lot of information online. How do I know what’s a rumor and what’s accurate?​

There have been a number of false rumors being propagated on the internet and via social media in recent days related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Please click here for information from the FEMA Joint Information Center (JIC) which has created a rumor control page to address rumors you may encounter

Employee COVID-19 Cases

MCTS is closely monitoring the latest developments regarding COVID-19 and following guidance from the Milwaukee Health Department (MHD) to proactively implement measures that help protect the safety of our employees and customers. In the interest of protecting our employees' medical privacy, we treat health information in strict confidence. MCTS and Milwaukee County will not release names or any other personal information that may compromise the privacy of any member of our workforce.

On March 20, MHD confirmed to MCTS that a bus operator tested positive for COVID-19. Employees and the public were made aware of this finding the same day. Additional cases of COVID-19 among the MCTS workforce will be identified in the table below, which will be updated as necessary. MCTS has more than 1,000 employees and there is no evidence of the virus being widespread among the workforce. The MHD has asserted that MCTS passengers are not considered to be 'at risk' from a bus operator who later tested positive for COVID-19, due to the driver’s shield and their minimal interaction.

This chart will be updated if additional employees test positive for COVID-19:

Position Work Location MCTS Notified Case Status Last Worked Employees in Close Contact* Close Contacts Notified* Disinfection Process Complete
Bus Operator Fond du Lac Station 3/20/20 Recovering & Back at Work 3/17/20 Yes (7) Yes Yes
Bus Operator Trainee Fond du Lac Station 3/25/20 Recovering at Home 3/25/20 Yes (4) Yes Yes
Bus Operator Fond du Lac Station 4/1/20 Recovering at Home 3/20/20 No N/A Yes

 

*The MHD advises that Close Contact is defined as 10 minutes of time spent closer than 6-feet away from the patient that tested positive, or a shared workspace. The MHD will contact those who may have had prolonged exposure with employees who have tested positive.

Employee Assistance Program (EAP)

While most Americans remain healthy, we all have concerns about how COVID-19 will spread and potentially impact our health, our work, our families.

We encourage you to take advantages of our Employee Assistance Program, which can help you:

  • Manage the uncertainty and anxiety surrounding the coronavirus.
  • Achieve work-life balance as the virus impacts school-age children or elderly parents.
  • Cope with financial uncertainties as businesses face slowdowns or are forced to close.

To utilize our EAP program, please contact FEI Behavioral Health at 1-800-236-7905 or online at www.feieap.com; username: mcts

Job Postings

Employees who wish to submit bid applications for current internal job postings should submit the bid application to their supervisor and ask the supervisor to scan the application to HR@mcts.org.

If you have further questions, please contact Rick Ceschin on HR matters (contact information below) and Payroll on payroll matters at 414-937-3226.

Thank you,

Rick Ceschin

Director of Human Resources

Milwaukee County Transit System

414.937.3230

rceschin@mcts.org