Subway conductor first known MTA worker to die from coronavirus
A veteran subway conductor passed away from the coronavirus Thursday morning, family and co-workers told The Post — marking the first known death for the MTA’s 74,000-person workforce.
Peter Petrassi, 49, who was diabetic, checked into a hospital Friday night after days of feeling ill and was then tested for COVID-19, colleagues said.
The Queens man, who spent 20 years in the MTA’s subways department, was remembered fondly by friends and family.
“This man would make everyone’s day a better day when he comes in,” one colleague posted on a transit worker Facebook group.
“This is unbelievable that he’s gone the crew office will never be the same.”
His nephew, Dylan Petrassi, posted on Facebook that his Uncle Peter was “the most kind loving adventurous food enthusiastic person” and “someone who put other people before himself.”
The MTA has been forced to scale back service this week across its buses, subways and commuter rails due to a surge in workers calling in sick due to COVID-19 symptoms or exposure.
At Wednesday’s teleconference MTA board meeting, agency officials repeatedly refused to disclose how many workers are missing work due to virus symptoms or official self-quarantine orders.
The agency confirmed Petrassi’s death, though not its cause.
“Our hearts are absolutely broken. Peter was a vital member of our team, and a valued friend,” MTA Transit chief Sarah Feinberg said in a statement. “We are honored to have worked with him, and our thoughts are with his family and loved ones.”
In a statement, Transport Workers Local 100 President Tony Utano said Petrassi’s passing was “a line-of-duty death just as if he had been killed on the job in any number of ways that have struck down transit workers in the past.”
Petrassi’s colleagues suspect he contracted the virus at work after recently recovering from the flu.
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