Since the start of the pandemic, 68 MTA employees have died, including John Oles, a machinist who had worked for Metro-North for 28 years, most recently at the Harmon Support Shop. Oles was the father of two daughters.

“His dedication to public service during this difficult time will not be forgotten,” Metro-North President Catherine Rinaldi said. “Our thoughts are with his wife Karen, who is also a member of the Metro-North family, and their two daughters, Kristen and Kimberly, during this unimaginably difficult time.”

Oles was the first recorded death of a Metro-North employee. As of last week, 71 employees had tested positive for the coronavirus. A total of 522 who had been on quarantine have returned to work.

The MTA recently deployed a “Temperature Brigade” to check the temperature of its employees at 22 locations throughout the agency. Those with a temperature of 100.4 or higher have been sent home and told to seek medical guidance.

“Like so many others, the MTA has been hit hard by COVID-19, but as members of our workforce have recovered and come off of mandatory quarantines, they’ve returned as soon as possible to move the other essential heroes like doctors, nurses, pharmacists, grocers, and food delivery workers during this public health crisis so they can do their jobs and save lives,” said MTA Chief Safety Officer Patrick Warren.