COVID-19 Science Update

To help inform the COVID-19 response and help stay up-to-date on the latest COVID-19 research, CDC has created a series called COVID-19 Science Update.  The first of its kind for a CDC emergency response, this series provides brief summaries of new COVID-19 related studies on many topics, including epidemiology, clinical treatment and management, laboratory science, and modeling.  These summaries are released Tuesdays and Fridays and include overview of key findings, methods, and implications.  Updated January 29, 2021.  

READ THE weekly SUMMARIES

 

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION THANKS TRANSIT AGENCIES FOR HELPING AMERICANS ACCESS COVID-19 VACCINATION SITES NATIONWIDE AND ENCOURAGES MORE TO STEP UP AS PART OF NATIONAL MONTH OF ACTION

More than 350 transit agencies have provided free rides to help Americans get vaccinated

The U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Transit Administration (FTA) today highlighted how transit agencies across the country are helping people in their communities get access to COVID-19 vaccines.  More than 350 transit systems are providing free transportation to vaccination sites or using their transit stations and facilities as vaccination sites, and some have even converted buses and other transit vehicles into mobile clinics – many using funding from the American Rescue Plan.

"Getting vaccinated is the best way to defeat this virus and resume being able to gather safely with our friends and loved ones," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.  "We are grateful for the service and creativity of transit agencies across the country that are providing access to vaccines and encourage every state, county, and city to do the same during our Month of Action."

In early March, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan, providing $30.5 billion to support transit agencies as they continue to provide critical transportation services, including getting Americans to their vaccination appointments.  Several transit agencies have focused on improving access in areas with low vaccination rates.

For example, in Jacksonville, Florida, where the vaccination rate is just over 30 percent, the Jacksonville Transportation Authority (JTA) has partnered with Agape Family Health to launch “Wheels to Wellness,” a mobile vaccination clinic using transit buses in areas with gaps in health equity.  In Augusta, Georgia, where the vaccination rate is just 25 percent, Augusta Transit is partnering with the Richmond County’s Department of Public Health to provide vaccinations at the agency’s Broad Street Transfer Center near downtown Augusta.

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Upcoming Events

Community Transportation Association of America Expo 2021

24th National Conference on Rural Public & Intercity Bus Transportation

News

FTA DRUG AND ALCOHOL NEWSLETTER AUGUST 2021 ISSUE 72
A new issue of the FTA Drug and Alcohol Regulation Updates Newsletter is now available.  Issue 72 includes information on Post-Accident Testing, random testing for standby and on call employees, compliant company policies, and much more.  Last updated August 16, 2021.  Newsletter-Issue-72-508.pdf  

TSA OFFICIALLY EXTENDS MASK MANDATE ON AIRPLANES, PUBLIC TRANSPORT & PASSENGER RAIL UNTIL JANUARY 2022
The requirement to properly wear face coverings will be in place through January 18, 2022, as the fight against the spread of the COVID-19 virus continues.  On August 10, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) published an updated security directive that extends the requirement for passengers and employees on airplanes, public transportation and intercity surface transportation to wear masks through January 18, 2022.

The initial requirement for face masks went into effect Feb. 1 following President Joe Biden's Executive Order "Promoting COVID-19 Safety in Domestic and International Travel."  The original directive's expiration of May 11 was extended to Sept. 13, 2021, and will now remain in place through mid-January 2022.   

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) updated its information page on the requirement and explained that while the date of enforcement has been extended, all other aspects of the security directive remain in place including  exemptions and civil penalties. The TSA's updated security directive can be found here and the FTA's information page on the requirement can be found here.

FTA AND NTI "ASSAULT AWARENESS AND PREVENTION FOR TRANSIT OPERATORS" ONLINE COURSES
The FTA has made available additional resources to support transit agencies as they work toward implementing the federal mask requirement while ensuring the safety of transit operators.  FTA has resourced with the National Transit Institute in providing this training.  The course's goal is to provide transit bus operators with prevention strategies necessary to reduce the likelihood of assault incidents.  The course includes updated learning activities and scenarios focused on passenger mask-wearing.  Registration 

FTA DRUG AND ALCOHOL PROGRAM (Applicable Date: January 1, 2021
The Omnibus Transportation Employee Testing Act of 1991 mandated the Secretary of Transportation to issue regulations to combat prohibited drug use and alcohol misuse in the the transportation industry.  For that portion of the transportation industry having to do with the provision of and service to the public of mass transportation, FTA is the agency delegated with the authority and responsibility for issuing these implementing rules.  These rules are encompassed in 49 CFR Part 655, Prevention of Alcohol Misuse and Prohibited Drug Use in Transit Operations.  WHAT'S NEW -  2021 Random Drug and Alcohol Testing Rates.  FTA published the Prevention of Alcohol Misuse and Prohibited Drug Use in Transit Operations announcing the calendar year 2021 drug and alcohol random testing rates for employers subject to FTA's Drug and Alcohol Program. 

Transit Resources

Second Quarter 2021 MO-RTAP eNewsletter