RICHMOND/LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) — The coronavirus is forcing entire departments in some cities to quarantine.
So what does a city do when an entire department is quarantined due to an employee testing positive for the coronavirus? Plan and adjust.
That’s what the city of Richmond did before everyone in the public works department was forced to quarantine for two weeks.
The 21-member department handles, among other things; road repairs, potholes, picks up tree limbs and leaves, and helps with trash.
“We ask that citizens be patient with us while we try to cover these services and hopefully we’ll be back to full operation next Tuesday,” says City Manager Rob Minerich.
In the meantime, the city is covering with workers from the parks and recycling departments.
“It’s not unfamiliar territory for these people but it’ll run them a little thin with everything else they’re doing right now,” says Minerich.
But even with the temporary fill-ins the city says road repairs, pothole filling and fall paving projects will be delayed a week.
In Lexington, the city says six employees in the emergency management department are in quarantine.
The city says an employee’s positive test sent six co-workers home leaving only two in the department.
“We could pull from essentially any division in government,” says Keith Armstrong, Commissioner of Public Safety. “We have some plans to do that if needed, but we don’t think it will be.”
The city says the six in quarantine are working from home so the department’s primary operation, which is the mobile neighborhood COVID-19 testing program, will not be affected.
“The mayor and the council have been very proactive in making sure that our departments’ are ready to respond to any community needs if any of the divisions are affected by COVID like this,” says Armstrong.
The city of Lexington says since coronavirus tracking began, the fire department has had 28 people test positive – four are currently in isolation; 14 in the police department – no one is in isolation right now; and the jail has had 15 employees test positive – three are still in isolation.