Cerritos News

COVID Hits Cerritos Employees at City Hall, Other City Facilities

 

 

By Brian Hews • December 20, 2020

Hews Media Group-Cerritos News has confirmed with city officials that several Cerritos City Hall employees have either contracted or have been exposed to COVID-19.

A few employees have contacted HMG-CN and also confirmed the outbreak.

Following COVID-19 guidelines, the city told the employees who contracted COVID and the employees who were exposed to immediately quarantine.

One of the employees forward an anonymous letter sent to City Manager Art Gallucci with a note stating, “Last week, at least 4 employees at City Hall tested positive for COVID-19. There have also been reports of positive tests at the Library, the Corporate Yard and the Swim Center.

“Despite what seems to be a steady increase in positive tests throughout City facilities over the last 14 days, the Mayor [Naresh Solanki] refuses to close City Hall to the public or reinstate telecommuting for eligible City employees.

“This puts both City employees and residents at risk. Some of the people who tested positive are in public-interfacing positions. I believe it is important for the residents to know that if they come into City Hall or encounter City employees at other facilities they may be exposing themselves to COVID.”

The anonymous letter stated, “as you may or may not know, two employees on the first floor of City Hall have recently tested positive for COVID; one employee in public works and one in finance. Currently six employees in the finance department are out of the office due to having symptoms and or possible exposure. Also there have been employees in the parks and trees department that have tested positive and others exposed. The city clerks office has employees off for the same reason.

“This is a very serious matter and many Cerritos employees feel like upper management does not care for the well-being of their employees. As a courtesy employees should be informed as to what is happening at their workplace and be given assurance that matters are being handled appropriately.”

A letter obtained by HMG-CN from city manager Art Colucci stated, “the City Council and I received a letter on December 10 from a city employee who expressed concerns about the health and safety of staff working during the COVID crisis. COVID is a serious illness; I understand and share the strong interest we all take in keeping our families, friends and ourselves safe and healthy.

Gallucci indicated that they had taken all safety guidelines and precautions given out by public health and set up a COVID committee which is comprised of Cerritos employees from various departments citywide, and the City Attorney to develop measures for employees safety.

Gallucci went on to describe the COVID Exposure Control Plan that was distributed to all employees describing the precautions and preventative measures taken by the city to protect their health.

The city also has an Incident Report Form that is completed upon notification of a suspected or confirmed case of COVID at a city facility. It is completed by the employee and their supervisor and submitted to Human Resources for follow up.

Gallucci stressed that PPE has been provided and germ shields have been put up were necessary.

Still, the steps taken did not seem to be registering with the anonymous letter writer who stated, “I believe it is important for the residents to know that if they come into City Hall or encounter City employees at other facilities they may be exposing themselves to COVID. I understand that the City is in a difficult position but there are some basic steps they could take to reduce risk and they are unwilling to. I am concerned for the safety and health of myself, my fellow employees, our families, and the residents of the City or anyone else who has business with the City.”

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