Bridgeport officials reassure staff strict COVID protocols are in place
BRIDGEPORT — City officials this week sought to reassure rank-and-file employees who have complained they are not given enough official information about cases or suspected cases of COVID-19 among colleagues.
Eric Amado, the city’s interim head of labor relations, told The Connecticut Post that there are strict protocols in place to notify “individuals that potentially could have been impacted” and to warn them.
“Any time a situation pops up ... we immediately discuss and assess with the health department and emergency operations the potential risk,” Amado said.
But, Amado continued, there is no need to blast the news through all levels of municipal government and needlessly worry everyone on the payroll: “Putting people on notice someone tested positive or has some sort of symptom could lead to ... paranoia.”
Rowena White, Mayor Joe Ganim’s communications director, agreed: “Just because one person may have it doesn’t mean an entire building is at risk.”
White said there are also privacy considerations.
White and Amado were responding to the handful of employees who recently reached out to the Post with concerns after a staffer in the downtown Margaret Morton government center was quietly sent home.
White confirmed there was “at least one individual quarantined out of safety precautions” but declined to provide more details.
“I’m a little freaked out,” said one worker who contacted the Post. “We get no word.”
Another employee agreed, arguing that the city makes no effort to reassure employees they are safe.
Amado cited the public health protocols that have been instituted since after the coronavirus pandemic struck in March and government buildings and offices were slowly re-opened as statewide stay-at-home orders were lifted.
“We’ve put enough preventative measures in place, I believe, that you’re safer here than you are in your average grocery store, your average Walgreens, Walmart, whatever it is, because you have a controlled environment,” Amado said. “You’re coming in (to work), taking your temperature, sanitizing your hands, changing out your gloves, going into your work station with city-provided sanitizing equipment, sanitizing your station before and after your shift. No shared phones. No shared office spaces. Everyone 6 feet apart.”
Amado said he was aware of “under 10” actual COVID infections among Bridgeport employees during the pandemic, but acknowledged, “There’s a significant difference between having a confirmed contraction versus exhibiting symptoms and isolating due to doctor’s orders.”