Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Metro Provides Update on Precautions for Swine Flu

For those of Loudoun County residents who use Metro for part of their commute, here's news from the transit agency about the swine flu.

According to a Metro news release, the agency "is using an environmentally friendly, hospital-grade disinfectant cleaner to wipe down surfaces throughout the Metro system to help keep riders and employees from catching the flu."

Each flu season, Metro uses the special hospital-grade disinfectant to protect riders and employees from contracting flu viruses. Though the traditional seasonal flu season has ended, Metro is continuing to use the hospital-grade disinfectant because of the recent outbreak in swine flu cases. The disinfectant is used to clean and disinfect “touch-surfaces” in the Metrorail and Metrobus systems.

Meanwhile, Metrobuses are spot-cleaned with the disinfectant every 14 days and will undergo more frequent cleaning if necessary. Metrorail trains and station equipment are disinfected daily.

Touch surfaces inside vehicles include fareboxes, steering wheels, seats, back-of-seat handles, floor-to-ceiling and seat-to-ceiling poles, and overhead grab bars and handles. In addition, fare machines, fare gate targets and farecard slots in rail stations are wiped down with the special disinfectant. MetroAccess will begin cleaning its vehicles with the environmentally friendly, hospital-grade disinfectant as well.

Metro is also urging their customers to take basic precautions to protect themselves and their fellow riders, including frequent hand washing, covering the mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, or coughing or sneezing into the upper sleeve, not hands when a tissue is not available, and avoid touching the eyes, nose and mouth. To keep their hands clean while traveling, riders should carry tissues, waterless hand-sanitizing gels or disinfecting wipes.

More on the swine flu is available on the Loudoun County government Web site.

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