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Pinellas County stormwater employee tests positive for coronavirus

A group of other employees in the department will not return to work until April 13.

After a Pinellas County stormwater employee tested positive for coronavirus, officials have contacted other employees who worked closely with the infected employee, records show.

The employee last worked on March 26, but supervisors learned the employee has been feeling better, public works director Kelli Hammer Levy wrote in an email on Saturday. All other employees “report that they feel fine, but in an abundance of caution, they will stay home” through April 9, the email said. The group’s next scheduled workday is April 13.

The building where the employees worked was disinfected on April 3 "by a professional cleaning company so there are no concerns with the safety of the building, Levy wrote. A county cleaning crew will also disinfect the vehicle used by the infected employee.

Related: A Pinellas jail deputy has coronavirus. Sheriff Gualtieri says it’s under control

The other employees told managers they practiced social distancing, used hand sanitizer and sprayed down the vehicle with disinfectant, the email said. Levy said she understands that practicing social distancing slows work, but “that is exactly what we want and need you to do so that we are working safely.”

The county also took additional steps last week to limit the contact that another department has with the public.

An emergency order signed Friday by administrator Barry Burton will waive flat fee transactions at the landfill scale house until further notice. Customers will now be required to pay with credit cards. The order will likely eliminate about 1,000 customer interactions each week, a memo said. “This action is necessary to protect our scale house staff by eliminating all cash and check transactions,” Paul Sacco, leader of the solid waste department, wrote in a memo.

The county expects to lose between $6,000 and $7,000 each week. The county will seek to get reimbursed from the state and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

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