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Rochester coronavirus patient rode Greyhound here from NYC 

click to enlarge SARS-CoV-2 emerges from the surface of cells cultured in the lab in this scanning electron microscope image.

CREDIT NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES ROCKY MOUNTAIN LABORATORIES

SARS-CoV-2 emerges from the surface of cells cultured in the lab in this scanning electron microscope image.

The Rochester man who tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this week rode a Greyhound bus from New York City to Rochester on Tuesday.

Monroe County officials said Wednesday that the man flew into John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City and took "ground transportation" to Rochester.

On Friday, however, Greyhound responded to questions from WXXI News with an emailed statement saying that an individual whose travel details matched those of Monroe County’s only confirmed coronavirus case was aboard a bus that left New York City early Tuesday morning.

“While we are unable to provide personal information regarding passengers, we can confirm we were informed an individual traveling on schedule #252 on March 10th in Rochester, NY tested positive for the coronavirus,” the company wrote.

Monroe County officials confirmed the statement from Greyhound Friday evening.

"In the course of our local investigation, we are making contact with all individuals who rode with the patient," the county said. "We have video evidence that the patient was wearing a mask and gloves while riding on the bus."

The county said its team of investigators made contact with seven people who got off the bus with the man. They are all asymptomatic and in quarantine.

"However, there are four additional riders whom we have been unable to reach," the county said. "It is important that we make contact with all of them to take precautionary action."

The main line is 585-753-5164 during business hours, or 585-753-5905 on nights and weekends.

The man had previously told WXXI News that he rode in the trunk of a car from the airport to his home. In an interview Friday, when presented with the statement from Greyhound, he acknowledged that detail was false. He rode in the trunk of a car from the Rochester train station, where the bus dropped him off, to his house, he said.

“I’m willing to admit that I told you the wrong thing,” he said. “I don’t quite know why. I am sorry.” He said he’s consistently been truthful with authorities. “The right people did know the right things at the right time,” he said. “I told the CDC everything.”

He explained that he gave the federal Centers for Disease Control his receipts, his bus tickets, and screenshots of his Uber trip from JFK airport to the bus station in midtown Manhattan.

The route that Greyhound said he rode has stops in four cities between Manhattan and Rochester. It continues on to Batavia and Buffalo, crosses the Canadian border and makes seven stops before terminating in Toronto.

“We’re working closely with local public health officials as they inform passengers who may have been impacted,” Greyhound said. The bus company said it followed routine pre- and post-trip sanitation procedures and removed the bus from service "for a thorough disinfection."

"A thorough sanitization of our Syracuse, New York City and Rochester locations has been completed as well,” Greyhound said.

The company did not respond to questions about when the bus was pulled from service, how many passengers were aboard, or whether it sanitized the other bus stops on the route.

An Uber spokesperson said the company cannot confirm this particular ride, but it does have a team available to work with public health authorities.

The Monroe County health department did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The man described a “whirlwind” of emotions and events since he began his quarantine.

“They did the press conference and they canceled the St. Patrick’s parade, and it felt like it was all attached to me.” He has not been outside in days, he said. “I’m moody and anxious.”

James Brown contributed additional reporting.

Brett Dahlberg is a health reporter for WXXI, a media partner of CITY. He can be reached at bdahlberg@wxxi.org.

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