NEW YORK (WABC) — Fears over the novel coronavirus have led to an ambitious plan to disinfect the entire MTA system nightly.
Workers are scrubbing down all 472 stations and all 6,714 subway cars, along with every Metro-North, LIRR and Staten Island railroad stop and train.
5,700 buses are also being wiped down, along with 1,341 access-a-ride vans.
The idea is to sanitize anything an MTA customer might touch every 72 hours, a key step in the densest city in America now that coronavirus is here.
“People are going to test positive,” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said. “Not just one or two, or three or five. There will be many who test positive.”
Governor Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced New York’s first confirmed case of COVID-19, a 39-year-old healthcare worker who lives in Manhattan and recently returned from virus-ravaged Iran with her husband who is also being tested.
Officials are reaching out to fellow passengers on their flight and the driver who took them home.
As the city ramps up testing, the plans are to process 1,000 tests a day.
“When you go to the doctor you present symptoms, they’ll do a nasal swab,” said NYC Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot. “They’ll test for the 26 most common viruses that may be accounting for your symptoms, but then we would take a similar sample that swab and send it to the public health lab to be run.”
In order to fund all of the testing and to fight the illness, state lawmakers approved a $40 million spending bill.
Governor Cuomo said that cleaning in senior centers, where you have a more fragile population, will also be ramped up.
The CDC’s confirming more than a hundred coronavirus cases across the country, claiming at least six lives, with the majority of known cases clustered on the west coast.
In the Seattle area, public health experts think the virus has been replicating and spreading silently for six weeks.
“The risk for all of us becoming infected will be increasing,” said Jeff Duchin, of Seattle public health.