38 Steamship Authority employees test negative for COVID-19

Posted: September 9, 2020

FALMOUTH (September 9, 2020) – Following notification that three Woods Hole, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket Steamship Authority vessel employees had tested positive for COVID-19, the Authority has learned that 38 additional employees who were subsequently tested were all found to be negative for the virus.

The testing results encompass 29 employees for whom the Authority arranged testing through Cape Cod Healthcare and 10 additional employees who chose to be tested of their own accord. From those two groups, test results for one individual are pending. The Authority is not disclosing employee names or positions within the company to ensure that their private health information remains confidential.

“These negative test results are a welcome relief for those of us at the Authority who have been concerned these last 12 days over the health of our coworkers,” said General Manager Robert B. Davis. “While it is unfortunate that three of our vessel crew members did test positive, I am heartened that so many more received negative test results – a testament to our crews’ dedication to following best practices aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19 and keeping everyone safe.”

Following the three positive test results, the Authority made temporary schedule changes to best accommodate the needs of the traveling public in light of its reduced crewing capabilities and its attempts to limit the crossover of employees from one crew to another given the potential for community spread. Although some customers had to be rebooked over the Labor Day weekend, Davis said that everyone was accommodated with new travel arrangements.

“I know the sudden changes to the schedule were an inconvenience for many of our customers headed into the weekend, but they were all made in the interest of public safety,” Davis said. “I thank all of our passengers for their patience and understanding.”

Davis also thanked the Authority’s partners at Cape Cod Healthcare and public health officials in Barnstable County for their assistance during this difficult time.

The Authority continues to maintain rigorous measures to ensure the safety of its employees and the traveling public. Terminal employees and vessel crews thoroughly clean and disinfect all high-touch areas, including hand railings, table tops, door handles, seats, faucets, and toilets, multiple times a day. Additional crews are also assigned to perform cleaning and disinfecting measures on board each vessel overnight.

Employees have been instructed that, under no circumstances, should they come to work while they are sick, both for their safety as well as the safety of the crew and traveling public. Additionally, employees have been instructed to wear cloth face coverings, to wash their hands frequently and use hand sanitizer. Vessel employees also undergo a health screening by a medical professional prior to each watch.