Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information

Last updated 5/15/20

The ACCESS program is closely monitoring the spread and mitigation of coronavirus (COVID-19) and taking preventative measures as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control. We are also closely monitoring Allegheny County’s shift to the “yellow phase” on May 15, 2020, announced by the state.

ACCESS services continue to operate as normal at this time. To schedule a trip, please call your regular service provider. Please note that the ACCESS office is closed to visitors until further notice, but we are still available to help by phone. Please call ACCESS customer service at (412) 562-5353 or TTY 711. You may also find the answer to your question in the “FAQ” section below.

The ACCESS program is included in Port Authority’s Pandemic Plan. Updates will be provided as Port Authority and the Allegheny County Health Department receive them. For more information, go to: portauthority.org/coronavirus.

5/15/2020: Allegheny County Movement to “Yellow Phase”:

Allegheny County’s movement to the “yellow phase” on May 15, 2020 is being closely monitored. What does it mean for the ACCESS program?:

  • ACCESS service will continue to operate as normal. Please call your local service provider to book your trips.
  • The ACCESS office will remain closed to visitors until further notice. ACCESS customer service is available to assist over the phone. Applications and ePurse deposit and refund request forms will still be processed via mail or online. Please call ACCESS customer service at (412) 562-5353 or TTY 711.
  • Masks are still required in ACCESS vehicles. Effective April 20, 2020, in line with orders from Governor Wolf and the Pennsylvania Department of Health, public transit riders are required to wear a mask. Masks can be homemade—they do not need to be medical grade. If you do not have a mask or are unable to wear a mask, please call the main ACCESS office at (412) 562-5353.  

Masks can slow the spread of germs and prevent individuals from touching their face and spreading germs further. To learn how to make a homemade mask, see our guide:

This is an update from guidance issued on April 7 which encouraged masks in public, but did not require them. Masks are required as of April 20, and continue to be required in the yellow phase.

Previous updates:

4/20/2020

In line with orders from Governor Wolf and the Pennsylvania Department of Health, public transit riders are required to wear a mask. This applies to all ACCESS trips. Masks can be homemade—they do not need to be medical grade. If you do not have a mask or are unable to wear a mask, please call the main ACCESS office at (412) 562-5353.   

3/20/2020

The ACCESS office on 650 Smithfield Street is closed to visitors indefinitely. We are still available to assist with any needs at (412) 562-5353 or TTY 711.

3/13/2020

Effective immediately, all high touch surfaces inside vehicles are disinfected every evening. High touch surfaces include, but are not limited to: seatbelts, securements, lift handles and controls, stanchions, doors, window sills, steering wheels and radios.

3/13/2020

The recently announced closure of all Pennsylvania schools will not affect ACCESS service. We will continue operating as normal at this time.

FAQ:

How can riders ensure the limited spread of germs on vehicles?

All riders are encouraged to help prevent the exposure to and spread of germs and illness. Washing your hands with soap and water frequently is one of the most effective ways to stop the spread of germs. Do not sneeze and cough into your hands, and instead cough or sneeze into your shoulder, sleeve, or elbow. Anyone who feels sick is encouraged to stay home and contact your doctor.

In line with orders from Governor Wolf and the Pennsylvania Department of Health, public transit riders are required to wear a mask. This applies to all ACCESS trips. Masks can be homemade—they do not need to be medical grade. If you do not have a mask or are unable to wear a mask, please call the main ACCESS office at (412) 562-5353.   

The CDC recommends keeping 6 feet of distance between you and others whenever possible. Drivers are required to wear gloves and masks, and riders are required to wear masks while on board. Social distancing recommendations are being followed in all ACCESS vehicles.

Graphic depicting importance of social distancing. Remain 6 feet away from others when possible

What is being done to keep vehicles clean?

All high touch surfaces inside vehicles are disinfected every evening. High touch surfaces include, but are not limited to: seatbelts, securements, lift handles and controls, stanchions, doors, window sills, steering wheels and radios. Drivers have been provided with hand sanitizer, gloves, and masks, and are encouraged to continue washing their hands frequently.

Why is ACCESS service still operating? Are there any plans to alter service as the virus spreads across our region?

The ACCESS program provides necessary services connecting people to their jobs, medical appointments, and critical needs throughout Allegheny County. Federal, state, and local officials have issued a series of emergency orders and recommendations toward the voluntary and forced closure of certain business. ACCESS services, however, are deemed as “life sustaining.” Services are being operated with the COVID-19 risk in mind, and all necessary steps are being taken to protect drivers and riders.

Should it be necessary to limit ACCESS service based on the availability of drivers and support staff, the community will be notified by automated call-outs, the ACCESS website (myaccessride.com.), and Port Authority press releases.

What are the symptoms of coronavirus? How does COVID-19 spread from person to person?

Symptoms include a fever, cough, and shortness of breath. If you experience any of these, call your doctor. You can also use the CDC’s Symptoms Checker by visiting: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/symptoms.html

COVID-19 is likely spread the same way other human coronaviruses, like the common cold, are spread. Coronavirus primarily spreads in respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks. It can also be spread from close physical contact (touching, shaking hands) with an infected person. The virus also remains on surfaces, so it can spread from you touching the surface and then touching your eyes, mouth, or nose before washing your hands.

It’s important to note that scientists are seeing cases of COVID-19 in people who were infected by individuals who had COVID-19 but were not yet showing symptoms. We encourage everyone to take extra precautions, washing your hands frequently with soap and water, and if not available, using hand sanitizer.

A graphic with the symptoms of COVID-19(fever, cough, shortness of breath) and recommended precautions (wash your hands, don't touch face, avoid sick people)

What other resources are available?:
Port Authority of Allegheny County

Allegheny County Health Department

United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania’s 2-1-1 Hotline

Allegheny County SeniorLine

Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank

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