Steamship Authority officials are breathing a sigh of relief after announcing on Wednesday that 38 contact-traced employees have tested negative for Covid-19 — a week after three positive tests among employees caused a raft of schedule changes, reservation freezes, boat reshufflings and trip cancellations over the Labor Day holiday.

In a press release that went out Wednesday afternoon, SSA communications director Sean Driscoll said negative tests included 29 employees who were tested at Cape Cod Hospital, as well as an additional 10 employees who were tested elsewhere. Test results for one employee are still pending, the release said.

SSA general manager Bob Davis expressed gratitude in the press release that the tests had come back negative.

“These negative test results are a welcome relief for those of us at the Authority who have been concerned these last 12 days over the health of our coworkers,” he said. “While it is unfortunate that three of our vessel crew members did test positive, I am heartened that so many more received negative test results — a testament to our crews’ dedication to following best practices aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19 and keeping everyone safe.”

The small flurry of positive tests occurred between last Friday and Monday. One of the employees who tested positive worked on the Vineyard run, while two of the positive tests involved crew members who shared a shift together. All three employees who tested positive worked on SSA ferries.

Overall, six employees who either work on vessels or in ticket offices have tested positive for the virus since the pandemic began.

The positive cases led the SSA to completely rearrange its ferry service due to a lack of manpower, moving boats between routes and cancelling a number of freight trips on the Vineyard route over Labor Day weekend. More than 30 employees who worked on both routes were out of work while they awaited test results.

The SSA also had to institute a freeze on its reservation system, which has since reopened.

The press release stated that some Labor Day weekend passengers had to be rebooked due to the schedule changes.

“I know the sudden changes to the schedule were an inconvenience for many of our customers headed into the weekend, but they were all made in the interest of public safety,” Mr. Davis said. “I thank all of our passengers for their patience and understanding.”

At a port council meeting earlier Wednesday, Mr. Davis said there were some lessons learned from the three positive cases and the resulting fallout, including a greater attempt to limit crews from switching vessels.

“Part of this is that early on, we tried to keep crews from switching from vessel to vessel. It’s become more challenging come summertime,” Mr. Davis said. “As we get here to the fall and wintertime, we are going to be making a particular effort to make sure that people don’t switch boats, to limit cross pollination, so to speak.”

He also acknowledged that enforcing masks on the vessels was a problem — not just for the SSA but for ferry services across the country.

“Supervisors, terminal managers, agents, are supposed to be keeping track of [face covering enforcement],” Mr. Davis said. “I will say, that when I go down to the terminals myself, we get a compliance, probably because they see me coming. But I can’t be everywhere. We do stress the importance of wearing a mask or face shield.”

He continued:

“It’s a challenge, not only with our customers, but in some regards with our own employees.”

Also Wednesday the SSA announced the launch of its long-awaited eFerry ticketing service. According to a separate press release, passengers will now be able to purchase and redeem tickets on their smartphone or other mobile device.

The app was developed by a company called Pronto CX, the release states, and will allow for contactless ticket redemption on mobile devices before boarding. The eFerry tickets were tested earlier this summer on the Nantucket high-speed ferry route.

But unlike the Nantucket high-speed ferry tickets, the new eFerry tickets do not need to be purchased with an SSA account.

Mr. Davis said in the release that the new tickets had dual benefits — making it easier to purchase tickets, and making boarding safer with regard to the ongoing pandemic.

“I could not be more pleased that the rollout of the eFerry tickets is now complete,” he said.