Wednesday Jan. 13, the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority (RTA) hosted a COVID-19 town hall for all frontline, maintenance, and administrative staff. The forum discussed the COVID-19 vaccines and the importance of vaccination for staff. Medical Correspondent, Dr. Corey Hebert, answered a myriad of questions regarding vaccinations, COVID-19 safety measures, and additional ways to keep safe during these unprecedented times. As the city moves toward vaccination Phase 1B, Tier 2 which includes public transit workers, the agency is ensuring that employees have the necessary information prior to receiving the vaccine.
“The RTA has remained committed to keeping our frontline staff and passengers safe as we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Flozell Daniels, Jr., RTA Board Chair. “The importance of forums and conversations that focus on shared learning with our workforce of over 700 employees, show RTA’s commitment and appreciation to our team whose dedication to continuing operations has carried on the lifeline of mobility for thousands of residents in the city of New Orleans.”
The RTA has maintained service throughout the pandemic, operating 80% of its pre-COVID bus and streetcar service. The agency has continually implemented safety precautions to carry on service including the addition of safety barriers on the bus and streetcar fleet, as well as, mid-day vehicle cleanings at various transit hubs. RTA also continues to leverage communication with riders imploring their help in keeping safe by wearing face coverings, practicing social distancing, and using transit for essential activities only.
“COVID-19 has impacted our employees tremendously,” said Alex Z. Wiggins, RTA CEO. “Our frontline staff has worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic to maintain mobility for those carrying out essential activities. As we move forward to the vaccination phase of this pandemic, it is our duty to provide our essential transit workers reliable and evidence-based information on the vaccination so they can make informed health choices that are based in science.”
“Vaccination has become a prevalent conversation with the introduction and authorization of COVID-19 vaccines across the country,” said Dr. Corey Hebert. “It is important for frontline workers like those in the transportation industry to utilize forums like these as tools to educate and inform their decisions.”
Dr. Corey Hebert is an Assistant Professor at both LSU Health Sciences Center and Tulane University Medical Center. Better known as “The Doctor for the People,” Dr. Hebert is a highly regarded medical broadcast journalist, working as on-air medical editor for the NBC television affiliate in New Orleans, Louisiana and the Gulf Coast, as well as a frequent on-air contributor to the “Dr. Oz Show”. He is also a fan favorite on MSNBC where he is a frequent on-air contributor to the “Ed Show.” He is a current contributor to the Discovery Channel’s “How Stuff Works” television show and has made hundreds of appearances on national television networks and outlets such as CNN, CBS, National Geographic and Good Morning America. Dr. Hebert is the host of an extremely popular weekly radio talk show on the Cumulus Broadcasting Network called, “Doctor for The People” in which he answers health questions live on the air from people throughout the New Orleans metro area and across the country for those who hear his show simulcast on the internet. Dr. Hebert is also the Chief Executive Officer of Community Health TV.