Biddeford Saco Old Orchard Beach Transit has stopped services as employees have tested positive for COVID-19. File photo

SACO — Two employees have tested positive for COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus, and so Biddeford Saco OOB Transit has temporarily suspended service on all routes.

The suspension was announced Tuesday evening by BSOOB Transit Executive Director Tony Scavuzzo on the company’s website and in a Facebook video.

“Every person having had contact with the affected staff has been notified,” Scavuzzo said. “We have also been in contact with Maine CDC regarding communication best practices during this time.”

BSOOB had reduced some transportation services, and was planning another reduction, but the two positive tests and Governor Janet Mills’ Tuesday afternoon announcement on travel restrictions prompted the organization to suspend service, Scavuzzo said.

Mills most recent order, effective April 2, prohibits the use of public transportation unless for reasons deemed essential, like grocery shopping or medical appointments, or to get to a job that cannot be done from home.

“In the wake of today’s announcement by the Governor along with the news of two BSOOB Transit internal positive tests in the last eight hours, we are making the difficult but safe and prudent decision to suspend service until at least April 30,” said Scavuzzo in his Tuesday video.

“The internal positive tests and the resulting mandatory quarantine of those in close proximity to the affected, along with already protecting staff members at high risk, has decimated our driver pool in short order,” Scavuzzo said. “Even with our reduction in service effective March 20, we will not have a healthy number of bus operators to continue in a positive fashion until we see a collective upswing in internal and societal health. This has come like a hurricane today and we will react as swiftly to combat it. There is no reason to wait.”

Maine Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced 344 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state on Wednesday, April 1, up from 303 the previous day. Of those, 80 had recovered, 63 were in hospital, and there had been seven deaths. Cases have been reported in all counties except Aroostook, Hancock, Piscataquis, and Washington  Cumberland County has the most confirmed cases, at 169, and York County the second highest number, at 59, according to the March 31 report.

“We are going to do all we can to ‘flatten the curve’ and resume service in the near future as strong as ever,” said Scavuzzo. “Our recent momentum will not decrease.”

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