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Coronavirus Concerns: MBTA Starts Temperature Checks On Workers

BOSTON (CBS) – To help slow the spread of coronavirus, the MBTA has started temperature checks on its employees. This comes after a test confirmed that a T inspector who died Sunday had coronavirus, sources tell WBZ-TV's Beth Germano.

Beginning Wednesday at the Cabot Garage in South Boston, the MBTA will take the temperatures of all of its workers before they can start their shifts. Anyone with a temperature higher than 100 degrees will be asked to leave immediately and told to call their manager and doctor.

According to a letter sent to all MBTA employees from general manager Steve Poftak, the screening areas will be set up on a bus to "ensure privacy for our employees and the medical staff."

The temperature checks are starting with bus drivers at the Cabot Garage because it's one of the largest MBTA facilities.

mbta cabot garage
The MBTA Cabot Garage in South Boston. (WBZ-TV)

The checks will begin at the Charlestown Garage soon and will eventually roll out to other departments.

This new measure comes after 18 employees tested positive for coronavirus. Ten of them are bus drivers. The T said all vehicles are being cleaned and disinfected before they go into service and all high-contact surfaces are being disinfected every four hours.

The employee of 21 years who died Sunday worked out of the MBTA's Southampton garage, sources said.

One worker who spoke with WBZ-TV Wednesday, but does not want to be identified, believes the MBTA has been slow to respond.

"It should have been done two-to-three weeks ago, now so many people are infected, temperatures now is for show, I feel like," the worker said.

There's been talk with the Carmen's Union about expanding sick time for employees, but it hasn't happened yet.

"If you don't have sick time they're letting you borrow on next year's time and you have to pay it back," the anonymous worker told WBZ. "Have a heart and care about the workers that are out on the front lines."

"Members deserve to know that they will be guaranteed compensation and coverage if they have to be out of work due to illness or risk of illness," the Carmen's Union said in a statement.

The MBTA said it is examining its policies and the general manager will have an update in the near future.

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