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Houston METRO police officer tests positive for coronavirus

As of Friday, a total 6 employees have contracted COVID-19 including one contract driver.

HOUSTON — Editor's Note: Above video is from when METRO confirmed its first three employee COVID-19 cases.

Houston METRO reported six employees have now contracted COVID-19 after officials confirmed Friday a police officer had tested positive for coronavirus.

METRO officials said the officer is assigned to the METRORail division at 1900 Main and last reported to work March 26. 

On Thursday, the department confirmed two employees had tested positive. Those cases included a METROLift contract driver and a METRORail cleaner.

METROLift is an on-demand service which does not operate on specific routes. Officials said the contractor provided service for METROLift during the periods of March 13 - 17, March 19 - 21, March 23, March 24 and March 26 - 28.

The department will contact riders who were on that vehicle within 14 days of the time frame in which that contractor last worked. They’re recommending those customers monitor themselves for possible symptoms and self-isolate to avoid possibly exposing others.

The METRORail cleaner was recently hired and just completed training before reporting to work at METRO’s Rail Operations Center last week. The employee had no interaction with the public and was last on the job March 29.

METRO is also working with public health officials so they can identify and notify passengers, and any employees who may have been in close contact with the two.

RELATED: METRO tracking down passengers who rode these routes after bus driver tests positive for COVID-19

RELATED: METRO Houston suspends park and ride routes, closes HOV Lanes

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Coronavirus symptoms

The symptoms of coronavirus can be similar to the flu or a bad cold. Symptoms include a fever, cough and shortness of breath, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Some patients also have nausea, body aches, headaches and stomach issues. Losing your sense of taste and/or smell can also be an early warning sign.

Most healthy people will have mild symptoms. A study of more than 72,000 patients by the Centers for Disease Control in China showed 80 percent of the cases there were mild.

But infections can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death, according to the World Health Organization. Older people with underlying health conditions are most at risk for becoming seriously ill. However, U.S. experts are seeing a significant number of younger people being hospitalized, including some in ICU.

The CDC believes symptoms may appear anywhere from two to 14 days after being exposed.

Human coronaviruses are usually spread through...

  • The air by coughing or sneezing
  • Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
  • Touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose or eyes before washing your hands.

Help stop the spread of coronavirus

  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Eat and sleep separately from your family members
  • Use different utensils and dishes
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with your arm, not your hand.
  • If you use a tissue, throw it in the trash.
  • Follow social distancing

Lower your risk

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • If you are 60 or over and have an underlying health condition such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes or respiratory illnesses like asthma or COPD, the World Health Organization advises you to try to avoid crowds or places where you might interact with people who are sick.

Get complete coverage of the coronavirus by texting 'FACTS' to 713-526-1111.

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