Genesee County Meals on Wheels, Rides to Wellness closed after driver gets coronavirus

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FLINT (WJRT) (3/26/2020) - Genesee County's Meals on Wheels program and MTA's Rides to Wellness program will be closed temporarily after an employee tested positive for coronavirus.

MTA's Rides to Wellness program is closed for two weeks after an employee tested positive for coronavirus.

The Meals on Wheels kitchen will be closed Monday through Wednesday next week for a deep cleaning and sanitizing. No meals will be delivered from Saturday through Wednesday, but will return April 2.

Senior citizens on the Meals on Wheels program have eight days worth of meals on hand to get through the five-day pause in service.

MTA's Rides to Wellness program is closed for two weeks.

The employee, who is a man in his 30s, hasn't worked since March 17 and has been quarantining at home. His positive coronavirus test came back on Wednesday.

The employee usually drives for the Rides to Wellness program, but he had been farmed out to Genesee County's Meals on Wheels program for a few weeks.

He was driving the delivery vehicle for two days with a team who brought the meals to senior citizens. However, Genesee County officials say he delivered some meals to seniors' doors but never went inside.

The Genesee County Health Department is communicating with 55 people who are on the route that the driver worked for two days. GCCARD has increased its cleaning and sanitizing schedule, as well.

MTA immediately stopped sending drivers for the Meals on Wheels program Wednesday while the transit system and Genesee County officials continue assessing the situation.

Ed Benning, who is CEO of the MTA, said any Rides to Wellness passengers can use the Your Ride program for the next two weeks. He understands Rides to Wellness is critical, but believes closing the service is the right decision to protect health and safety.

"Once we're put on notice that we had a potential issue, we have no choice but to shut it down," Benning said.

GCCARD, which runs the Meals on Wheels program in Genesee County, is working now to determine who the driver may have exposed to the virus.

MTA also is asking all of their Rides to Wellness drivers quarantine at home. Benning said they will be paid for the next weeks while they stay home as a precaution.

A cleaning company is sanitizing all Rides to Wellness vehicles.

"There is going to be a void here during this, you know, two-week period," Benning said. "But we felt it was necessary to protect our employees, and the passengers to take this immediate step."