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L.A. County Metropolitan Authority has had to cancel some trips as coronavirus cases among its employees and contractors doubled in the past month, leading to staff shortages.

“The number of new COVID-19 cases has exploded in Southern California over the past two months — and Metro, unfortunately, is feeling the impact on our bus and rail service due to staffing shortages,” the agency said in a website post Tuesday.

Metro said it had to cut about 10% of trips on Monday, and that cancellations will likely continue over the next few weeks.

Transportation officials encouraged riders to use Metro’s mobile app to plan their trips and find crowding estimates.

According to the agency, about 30% of its bus operators have been out in the past few days because they have to quarantine, take care of of family member or tested positive for the coronavirus.

At least two Metro bus drivers have died of COVID-19.

“We are trying to keep buses at no more than 75 percent of seated capacity — lower than the 130 percent standard we used prior to the pandemic,” Metro said.

The agency said the number of its workers and contractors who have contracted the coronavirus has doubled in the past month. Officials believe this is due to community spread of the coronavirus and not directly linked to the transit system.

“Metro’s increase in cases is mirroring the county and state surge in cases,” the agency said.

About one in five people who get tested for the coronavirus in the region is found positive, according to the county.

Like health officials, Metro urged the public to stay inside as much as possible.

“Our actions over the next couple of weeks are a matter of life and death for many,” the L.A. County Department of Public Health said Tuesday. “Community transmission rates are high and any activity outside your home is high-risk. Stay home.”

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By Kelley Wheeler

Kelley Wheeler is a Metro reporter covering political issues and general assignments. A second-generation journalist, worked with all major news outlet, she holds a vast expeirience. Kelley is a graduate of USC with degrees in journalism and English literature. She is a recipient of Yale’s Poynter Fellowship in Journalism.

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