Hattiesburg, Mississippi – Over the weekend, the City of Hattiesburg’s administrative team learned that an employee in Public Works tested positive for COVID-19. The individual is currently hospitalized and has not been at work since Monday, March 23.
All employees in the employee’s division have been notified of the presumptive positive test. In an abundance of caution, the city will schedule a COVID-19 test for each employee in that division. The city will also continue to run daily screens for temperatures and symptoms of division employees at the beginning and end of each shift.
“Our personnel providing essential services – from fire and police to waste collection – are on the frontlines of this pandemic, and we are all adjusting and adapting as we continue delivering city services through this public health crisis,” said Mayor Toby Barker. “Since before our county’s first positive case, our administrative team has put several parameters and protocols in place to keep the health and safety of our community and our workforce a priority. This includes sanitization practices, PPE where necessary and temperature checks at the beginning and close of shifts. We know this is a tough time for our community, and we also know that more will get sick.”
Based on CDC guidelines and input from the Hattiesburg medical community, the city has implemented a planned workflow for any employee who is either symptomatic or had direct or indirect exposure. This exposure and symptoms protocol was developed by the City of Hattiesburg with input from the Hattiesburg medical community. It’s also in accordance to the guidelines issued by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It includes:
Earlier on Monday, Barker also released a video update that included two requests for students returning from spring break travel and to landlords and property management companies. They include:
- Self-quarantine of at least 14-days for all students who traveled out of state for spring break and who are returning home to Hattiesburg.
- All landlords and property management companies to suspend physical evictions for 35-40 days due to the current hardships faced by many who were are unemployed due to COVID-19 and who are currently in the process of claiming unemployment benefits.
While not executive orders, Barker states the following:
“As mayor, my authority to suspend evictions is limited. But, I do have a voice. Today, I’m using it to call on us to remember that there are certain values we all share: compassion, love of neighbor and a belief in doing the right thing. Continue to stay home. If you’re back from spring break, really stay home. And if you’re a landlord, work it out so people can stay home.”
For the full video:
An additional update for the City of Hattiesburg includes a transition from an in-person public meeting to a teleconference for April’s Planning Commission meeting. Scheduled for April 1, 2020, at 1 p.m., the meeting will be available for virtual access via the following details:
- Link for access: https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/866427605
- Dial-in via phone: +1 (646) 749-3122
- Access Code: 866-427-605
For all details related to Hattiesburg’s response to COVID-19, visit hattiesburgms.com/coronavirus.