Coronavirus News: Metro-North announces 1st COVID-19 related fatality

CROTON-ON-HUDSON, Westchester County (WABC) -- Metro-North announced Monday that an MTA railroad worker has died from the novel coronavirus.

Officials identified him as 28-year veteran machinist John Oles, who worked in the Harman Support Shop and leaves behind his wife, Karen, and his two daughters, Kristen and Kimberly.

"We are profoundly saddened by the loss of John Oles," Metro-North Railroad President Cathy Rinaldi said. "John was a 28-year veteran of our agency. He was beloved by his colleagues and will be deeply missed. His dedication to public service during this difficult time will not be forgotten."

This is the first recorded Metro-North Railroad fatality related to COVID-19.

Metro-North has had 71 employees who have tested positive for the virus. There currently are 460 employees under quarantined, while 345 have returned to work.

In all, 51 MTA workers have died and now transit agencies are trying to increase efforts to protect employees.

The MTA announced it was installing plexiglass barriers at all bus work locations, including all 28 bus depots and three central maintenance facilities.

"These dividers are currently being installed in areas where employees would normally congregate in performing their essential tasks, such as storerooms, dispatcher windows and maintenance Line Supervisor desks," acting MTA Bus president Craig Cipriano said. "Markers will also be placed on floors to help employees maintain distances of six feet apart. These efforts add another layer of protection for our frontline employees, who are the heroes moving heroes during this unprecedented crisis."

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