All Carson City employees were directed to get tested for COVID-19 on Thurs., July 16 after 12 staff members tested positive for the virus. A total of 15 Carson employees are thought to have contracted COVID-19 since the outbreak in March.
At the August 18 council meeting City Manager Sharon Landers shared that 13 city staff were able to recover from the virus and have been cleared to work. “As far as we know from our Contact tracing, we have no confirmed spread from coworkers.” added Landers.
Of the 12 positive cases in July, five of those employees worked directly at City Hall, two are part of the Carson Task Force, four were stationed on the field of the Corporate Yard and one employee was working at City Parks.
The first case of an employee testing positive came by the end of June. The Disaster Council then met on June 25 and implemented a policy requiring all employees who had a known exposure and/ or tested positive for COVID-19 to quarantine for a minimum of 14 days from the onset of symptoms or from the time the employee was exposed. In addition, the employee was required to provide a negative COVID test result before returning to work.
The Disaster Council also authorized the City Manager to enter into a contract with a cleaning service on an on-call basis.
Ana Meni, president of AFSCME Local 809, issued a scathing public comment at the July 5 council meeting alleging that the city did not follow protocols set by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health to send employees home who were possibly exposed to coronavirus to self-quarantine. The City refutes this statement.
However, just a few days later, three more employees tested positive, leading Landers to shutdown City Hall Thurs., July 9 and prompting Mayor Robles to call for an emergency city council meeting.
The Mayor explained that the purpose of holding a special council meeting rather than a Disaster Council meeting was to give an opportunity for Landers to explain the circumstances and review health protocols to the public and the rest of the city council.
At the July council meeting, Assistant City Attorney Pam Lee explained the city’s contact tracing policy noting that the CDC guideline defines someone being in ‘close contact’ as an individual within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes.
According to protocol, a city employee has to pass a 14-day incubation period and must test negative for COVID-19 afterwards in order to be cleared to go back to work.