Manatee County administration building workers to follow new COVID rules

The Manatee County administration building.
The Manatee County administration building.(Manatee County)
Published: Jun. 23, 2021 at 2:57 PM EDT
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BRADENTON, Fla. (WWSB) - Manatee County is implementing a new set of procedures for employees at the county administration building in the wake of two recent COVID deaths and six other confirmed COVID-19 cases among them.

Among other things, employees in the building are “strongly encouraged” to get vaccinated, work from home if they wish, practice social distancing and use virtual meeting tools whenever possible.

The county will also offer a drive-thru, one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccination for building employees on Friday, June 25 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the alleyway behind the County Administration Building. Any other person 18 years of age or older may also receive the vaccine.

County administrator Dr. Scott Hopes also said Tuesday in a news release that the latest Manatee County employee who tested positive for COVID-19 is an outlier, and not connected to the original cluster of five.

Hopes said the sixth patient worked on the seventh floor of the administration building. The other cases involved the building’s Information Technology Department.

“Patient zero was one of the original group of six, five of whom had contact, and all became infected with exception of one young man who was vaccinated,” Dr. Hopes explained.

“Individuals who had contact with the vaccinated individual have tested negative. Of these five infected cases, the majority were severely ill to the point of hospitalization or death. The clinical presentation gives me concern that we’re dealing with a very infectious variant that is quite deadly.”

Hopes said county employees will have to follow the following protocols:

  • Whether out of concern for the spread of the virus or in consideration for the emotional toll the past two weeks have taken on the workforce, employees who are able to work from home may do so with the approval of their supervisor. Employees who have not been fully vaccinated are strongly recommended to consider vaccination or to work from home until there are no indications of active spread of the COVID-19 virus in the Administration Building.
  • Employees who remain working at the Administration Building are strongly encouraged to either become vaccinated or to wear an N95 or equivalent face mask inside the building. These masks are far more effective against the spread of contagions and we have made them available in common areas of the building and in each department.
  • Regardless of vaccination status, employees should refrain from close proximity to others, and are encouraged to host virtual meetings instead of in-person meetings whenever there is mixed vaccination status among the meeting group. Employees are directed to minimize close contact with others in the building until at least July 1 if there are no new cases.
  • All county employees must remain conscientious of any COVID-like symptoms. Sick employees (those who have a cough, fever, headache, sore throat, etc.) should stay home. If they have COVID-like symptoms they should receive a rapid test and a PCR test in order to obtain conclusive results.

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