As cases and concerns of the coronavirus spread across the greater New York City area, Metro-North commuters are keeping a close watch on the latest developments.

Their concern increased after it was learned that a 50-year-old New Rochelle, N.Y. man, who used Metro-North, tested positive for the coronavirus virus.

The man’s wife and two of their children, a son and daughter, remain quarantined in their home in Westchester County. The man, a Manhattan attorney, has an underlying respiratory illness that could worsen the effects of the disease, and is in “critical condition” at a New York City hospital.

"I'm following the news very carefully ... if I see it's expanding, then I will stop non-essential business travel," said Mike Yavonditte, a Greenwich resident who commutes via Metro-North to Manhattan for his job as CEO of Yieldmo, a mobile advertising technology company. "If it reaches an inflection point, I will work from home and allow my employees to work from home.”

Earlier this week, the MTA announced to combat spread of the coronavirus, it is going “above and beyond” cleaning and disinfecting its stations and trains.

“Train cars and buses will be cleaned daily with the MTA’s full fleet being cleaned every 72 hours,” said Patrick Foye, chairman and CEO of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

Foye said ridership has not changed since late December when the coronavirus — formally known as COVID-19 — was first identified in Wuhan, China.

"I think the MTA and Metro North are doing what they can. Their efforts to sanitize train cars, ticket machines and turnstiles are admirable, but none of that will stop airborne transmission [of the coronavirus]," said Jim Cameron, transportation columnist for Hearst Connecticut Media who founded the Commuter Action Group and was the former chairman of the Connecticut Rail Commuter Council. “The responsibility still lies with individual commuters.”

"I think you will see ridership decrease on Metro-North," Cameron added. "It's inevitable. I've already seen comments online from people who were upset that other commuters were coughing and hacking on trains."

Metro-North operates New Haven Line service for New York and Connecticut. The New Haven Line was used by 40.4 million people in 2016, according to the MTA. It also operates the Harlem Line, which serves New York and western Fairfield County.

"I'm paying much more attention to everything I would normally touch without thinking about, like the turnstiles," said Trent Janik, a New Canaan resident who uses Metro-North to commute to her job as vice president of operations and strategy for Tory Burch in Manhattan. "As soon as I get to the office, the first thing I do now is wash my hands. It's also the first thing I do when I get home at night.

"I haven't noticed a decrease in ridership yet, but I wouldn't be surprised it that begins to happen," Janik added. "More companies will probably have their employees work from home, if they are set up to."

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