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Metro Service Impacted As Increase In COVID-19 Cases Creates Staff Shortages

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — The number of Metro staff and contractors to test positive for COVID-19 doubled in the past month, causing worker shortages for bus and rail services, Metro announced Tuesday.

According to Metro, about 30% of bus operators have been absent from work in the past few days due to having COVID-19, being quarantined, or caring for family members.

Metro said some bus and rail trips will most likely be canceled each day over the next few weeks. On Jan. 4, about 10% of Metro's trips were canceled.

Metro is currently keeping buses at or under 75% of seated capacity, compared to the 130% before the pandemic. Officials warned canceled trips would likely affect other trips by causing crowding.

Metro attributed the increase in infected workers to widespread community transmission of COVID-19 and not to the transit system, citing information from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.

"Everyone needs to keep in mind that community transmission rates are so high that you run the risk of exposure whenever you leave your house. Assume this deadly, invisible virus is everywhere, looking for a willing host," the department said in a release Monday. "Currently, more than one in five people who get tested are positive, and this helps explain why there is so much risk when you socialize with people you don't live with."

The impacts are expected to last until the number of COVID-19 cases decreases in the area and Metro employees are able to return to work.

(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)

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