Lead city employees contract COVID-19

Courtesy photo

LEAD — Two Lead city employees have contracted COVID-19 and have been quarantined for at least a week.

Lead Mayor Ron Everett confirmed Monday that the employees have been sick since last Monday. One employee works full time at city hall, the other, Everett said, “is in and out.”

The Pioneer is respecting the privacy of the individuals and their families and will not release names.

The city of Lead has about 38 employees, four who work at city hall full time. The two employees make up 5% of the city’s work force.

In March the Lead City Commission shuttered city hall to public traffic, citing concerns about COVID-19 spread and social distancing. For nearly six months the public has been asked to call city hall with any business that needs to be conducted, place utility bill payments in the drop slot, and make prior arrangements for contact with city officials. On Monday, Everett cited mounting COVID-19 cases across the state and locally when he announced that city hall would remain closed for the foreseeable future.

The closure also includes the Phoebe Apperson Hearst Library, which has been lending books that are ordered online or by calling the facility, but has not been open to the public.

Everett said there are no signs of illness in other city employees, and that it’s possible the infected employees contracted the virus somewhere outside of city hall.

“It’s hard to say where they got it because they’re all out and about,” he said.

Remaining staff members at city hall are handling city business well, Everett said. He reported that employees are following precautionary protocols as outlined by the CDC, including placing desks at least 6 feet apart.

“We’re just making sure that everyone follows the guidelines,” he said. “We social distance. We wash and clean, and I think that’s most important. Of course we’re concerned about close contact, and we’re doing everything we can to prevent that. As you can tell, the staff is fine and we’ve been functioning well.”

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