May 16, 2020

(May 24 Update) Second Rapid Transit System Driver Tests Positive for COVID-19 Virus



RAPID CITY, SD--A second driver with the City's Rapid Transit System (RTS) has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus.

            The driver's last RTS shift was Saturday, May 16.  The driver did not work last week after developing a gastro-intestinal condition.  He sought medical attention and was tested for the COVID-19 virus last Wednesday (May 20).  The employee was notified of the positive test and alerted his RTS supervisor Saturday evening (May 23).

            Earlier today, RTS officials alerted the South Dakota Department of Health of the positive test and have contacted other RTS employees who may have had contact with the driver.  The employees are being asked to monitor for COVID symptoms and to follow protocols for staying home from work and seeking medical advice if they develop COVID-like symptoms or any other health condition.

            "Transit officials indicate the driver used a face mask while working and driving on the routes," said Mayor Steve Allender.   "We want to assure the public that the driver practiced and followed social distancing, hand washing and disinfecting guidelines and protocols.

            "We reached out to the Department of Health with the information. We are also sharing with the public the driver's time line and routes in the week prior to his leaving work so anyone who may have been on the driver's routes during the specific days and times can monitor for symptoms."

            City officials indicate the employee drove RapidRide routes the week of May 11-16, prior to his absence.  He did not drive in the Dial-a-Ride system and as indicated earlier, did not work after his May 16 shift.

            Officials are providing the following time line of the driver's RapidRide shifts and routes for the period May 11-16:

DATE:                       TIME:                        ROUTE:

Monday, May 11        2:30-5:50 p.m.             Coolidge Route

Tuesday, May 12        2:30-5:30 p.m.             Jefferson Route

Wednesday, May 13   2:30-5:50 p.m.             Lincoln Route

Thursday, May 14       2:30-5:50 p.m.             Roosevelt Route

Friday, May 15           2:30-5:30 p.m.             Washington Route

Saturday, May 16       9:30 a.m.-5:10 p.m.     Jefferson Route 

            City officials do not plan to reduce or suspend RapidRide or Dial-a-Ride operations at the present time.  Drivers will continue to follow social distancing and hygiene protocols, including the mandatory wearing of face masks.

            On May 16, an RTS driver tested positive, remains self-quarantined and is not expected to return to service until early June.


Below is Mayor Allender's response to the May 16 notification of a positive COVID-19 test in a driver with the City's RTS:



(May 16) We were notified by the State Department of Health at 9 a.m. this morning that a driver within our Rapid Transit System (RTS) had tested positive for COVID-19.  City officials have been working with State Health officials on this specific case and have determined the time lines for which the driver may have been able to transmit the virus to others.  RTS Manager Megan Gould indicates the driver was wearing a face mask and followed established social distancing and hygiene protocols during his drive times.

City officials will continue to work with the State Department of Health on this matter.  The State Department of Health has shared the possible exposure time lines as well as reiterated the COVID-19 risk factors, symptoms and the protocols that should be followed by the public.

Rapid Transit System officials indicate the public transportation system will continue to operate its RapidRide and Dial-a-Ride bus systems with no suspensions in service planned.  All RTS employees are continuing to follow social distancing and hygiene protocols.


1) When was the City made aware of the positive test and who advised us? Saturday, May 16 at 9 a.m. by State Health officials

2) When did the worker test positive?  The employee was feeling ill and was tested on May 12. The employee did not return to work after May 12.

3) Did the driver display symptoms at work and continue to work after testing positive? No symptoms were noticeable during the work time and the employee did not return to work after he was tested.

4) Do we know how many days the driver continued to work after exposure? We are not aware of the day the employee was exposed to the virus.

5) Was the driver masked while he drove the RTS bus? Yes, the driver was diligent at wearing a mask while driving, according to RTS officials.

6) What actions will RTS/City be taking to monitor conditions/symptoms of other workers?  RTS has all employees monitor themselves and if they feel any symptoms to stay home. 

7) Is there any risk to riders wanting to take RTS moving forward - are you continuing the hygiene protocols that were referenced early on and will that be adjusted in any way? There is no additional concern for riders at this time, all employees have been advised to continue to follow all hygiene protocols including wearing masks.

8) Will there be any change to RTS operations in the days/weeks ahead?  As of right now there are no changes planned.but officials will continue to evaluate and make changes as necessary. Public transportation is essential for a number of the City's residents and it may be the only option for many to get groceries, visit the doctor and other essential trips.


Potential COVID-19 Exposure in Rapid City

PIERRE, S.D. – State Health officials announced Saturday, May 16, that a Rapid Ride Transit driver has tested positive for COVID-19.

The individual worked while able to transmit the virus to others on these dates:

    • Saturday, May 9th; 9 a.m. -5 p.m.
      • Rapid Ride Jefferson Route
    • Monday, May 11th; 1:20 p.m. -5:50 p.m.
      • Rapid Ride Washington Route

Due to the risk of exposure, customers who visited this location during the specified dates should monitor for symptoms for 14 days after the date they visited.

A CDC screening tool is available at COVID.SD.GOV, which can help recommend when to call your medical provider if you develop symptoms.

State Health officials remind all South Dakotans to:

  • · Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • · Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue.
  • · Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • · Refrain from touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • · Clean frequently touched surfaces and objects.
  • · Individuals at higher risk for severe COVID-19 illness, such as older adults and people who have chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease, should take actions to reduce your risk of exposure.
  • · Create a family plan to prepare for COVID-19 and develop a stay at home kit with food, water, medication, and other necessary items.

If you develop symptoms:

  • · Call your health care provider immediately.
  • · Individuals who are concerned they have COVID-19 should contact their healthcare provider via phone before going to a clinic or hospital to prevent spread in healthcare facilities.
  • · Avoid contact with other people.
  • · Follow the directions of your provider and public health officials.

For more information and updates related to COVID-19 visit the COVID.SD.GOV or or call 1-800-997-2880.


Thank you,

Darrell W. Shoemaker | Communications Coordinator

T: 605.721.6686 | M: 605.939.8551

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