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June 11, 2020

Free COVID-19 testing available to SEPTA employees

Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium to conduct tests at various locations

SEPTA COVID-19 testing Thom Carroll/For PhillyVoice

SEPTA began offering free COVID-19 testing for employees Thursday at the Fern Rock Transportation Center.

SEPTA employees can be tested for the coronavirus for free thanks to a partnership with the Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium.

Testing began Thursday at the Fern Rock Transportation Center and will continue twice a week at rotating locations that include Suburban Station, 69th Street Transportation Center and Middle District. 

SEPTA has had 288 employees test positive for COVID-19, according to General Manager Leslie Richards. Seven workers have died of complications from the coronavirus. 

That impact has been a point of tension between SEPTA officials and its transit workers, who threatened a work stoppage in late April over safety concerns.  

"SEPTA employees have been providing essential service throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and we are happy to help bring testing to their places of work," Richards said in a statement. "The health and safety of our employees and customers has been, and will continue to be, our top priority in the battle against COVID-19."

The Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium, a volunteer group of local doctors, nurses and other medical professionals, has have been providing free coronavirus testing to communities in need throughout the pandemic.

"We are proud to partner with SEPTA on this initiative," said Dr. Ala Stanford of the Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium. "This agreement will deliver critical services to both SEPTA employees and our communities as we fight the COVID-19 pandemic."

SEPTA operated on a lifeline service schedule for much of the COVID-19 pandemic, but resumed most regular transit service and fare collection last month.

The transit authority is now requiring all riders to wear face coverings to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Employees have been wearing face masks when riding on trains, buses, subways, and trolleys to protect staff and customers.

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