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Henrico reports COVID-19 outbreak in Voter Registration, Public Works

UPDATE, NOV. 13: COVID-19 outbreak in Voter Registration, Public Works contained 

Henrico officials believe they have contained this week’s COVID-19 outbreak that infected seven county employees. Five employees in the Voter Registration and Elections Office and two employees in the Department of Public Works had tested positive for the coronavirus since Nov. 10. All other employees considered potentially exposed have tested negative. Officials believe each agency’s cases are unrelated.

Voters not believed to be potentially exposed based on timing of symptoms

Henrico County has identified an outbreak of COVID-19 in the Voter Registration and Elections Office and the Department of Public Works, with eight employees either having tested positive or experiencing symptoms of the disease.

County officials have initiated contract tracing and rapid testing of others who may be potentially exposed. The Administration Building Annex at the Henrico County Government Center, where the Voter Registration and Elections Office and Public Works are located, is closed until Monday for enhanced cleaning and disinfection. Offices for the Department of Public Utilities also are housed in the Administration Building Annex.

County offices are closed Wednesday, Nov. 11 for the Veterans Day holiday. Employees who typically work in the affected building will work remotely Thursday and Friday.

“At this time, we believe this outbreak is limited to Henrico County employees and do not believe any residents who voted in-person at the Henrico County Government Center were potentially exposed,” Deputy County Manager for Public Safety Anthony E. McDowell said. “In-person voting ended on Saturday, October 31. It was one week later, on Saturday, November 7, that the first employee of the Voter Registration and Elections Office began to experience symptoms of infection.”

As of today, seven county employees have tested positive for COVID-19 and one employee is presumed positive while awaiting test results. Henrico recently purchased COVID-19 rapid test kits that deliver results in about 15 minutes.

The first sign of the outbreak came Saturday, when a supervisor with the Voter Registration and Elections Office began to experience symptoms of COVID-19 infection. The employee was tested Monday and confirmed positive today. County officials identified five other employees as “close contacts” who were potentially exposed and seven “lesser contacts.”

Testing of the five individuals considered close contacts revealed three as positive for COVID-19. In addition, one other employee is at home with a fever and presumed positive while awaiting test results.

In addition, two employees of Public Works have tested positive today; a third employee of the department tested positive in late October. While the Voter Registration and Elections Office and Public Works are located in the same building, officials are unsure whether the COVID-19 outbreaks are connected.

To reach the Voter Registration and Elections Office, call (804) 501-4347. Public Works can be reached by calling (804) 501-4393, and Public Utilities, (804) 501-4275.

 
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