Employee Notice #1: Ongoing Norfolk County efforts, plans and response related to COVID-19

Posted

Everyone is well aware of the global novel coronavirus (COVID-19) situation. Like municipalities and other counties across the Commonwealth, Norfolk County has been working tirelessly—and is continuing to adapt and respond—to ensure the best possible preparedness and protection for employees and the public.

Together with our Department Heads, employees and various partners, we have implemented a number of plans and contingencies. The Norfolk County Commissioners and the Norfolk County Agricultural High School Board of Trustees met on Wednesday afternoon and evening to discuss and plan additional contingency efforts. The County is closely monitoring and adapting to recommended state and federal directives and guidance on a daily basis. We shall continue to work in collaboration with our Department Heads, employees and constituent communities to address these issues.

We emphasize that the health and safety of Norfolk County’s employees remains of utmost importance to the County Commissioners. We understand the ongoing uncertainty that relates to COVID-19. We take seriously the County’s responsibility to help prevent the spread of the virus.

To that end, we want to take a moment to outline steps that we have taken and additional action we anticipate taking as this important public health issue continues to evolve.

With respect to all County buildings and offices, the Registry of Deeds and the County’s six court houses, Norfolk County’s Facilities Maintenance Department has been directed to place its top and paramount priority on directing, managing and sustaining the County’s efforts related to Coronavirus-related cleaning. Together and in accordance with Massachusetts Trial Court procedures, the Maintenance Department has strengthened protocols to regularly wipe down all door knobs, push bars, flush-o-meters, counters and Jury Pool armrests in all buildings during regular business hours. In addition to these steps, extensive efforts are also being made by Facility Maintenance employees each night to again wipe down the above-mentioned public touch-points and bleach bathroom floors. Similar efforts remain underway at the Norfolk County Agricultural High School.

We have placed a top priority on ensuring adequate employee precautions in these efforts. We remain in constant communication with the Massachusetts Trial Court, local public health departments and leadership of AFSCME Council 93 to make sure Norfolk County is following any and all best practices relating to protections for our front-line employees and the public. We remain grateful for the tireless efforts of both the County and School’s Facilities Maintenance staff.

In addition to these efforts, and thanks to the County’s strong partnership with Norfolk County Sheriff Jerry McDermott, we have made plans with the Sheriff’s Department to begin electrostatically spray sanitizing Norfolk County court houses and buildings. An initial schedule for these efforts includes the Dedham Complex and Quincy District Court this weekend and all County buildings during the next week. We extend our sincere gratitude to Sheriff McDermott and his staff for their continued partnership with the County to make these important efforts possible.

Each County Department has existing funds for cleaning supplies, wipes and sanitizers within their own operating budgets. We have encouraged and continue to advise all Departments to plan accordingly to be able to sustain our response for the duration of this challenge.

The County is working to establish remote/home access for various employees and Departments. These efforts shall help to maintain continuity of Norfolk County operations as global efforts to contain COVID-19 further evolve. These remote access efforts shall be completed this coming weekend and more information shall be forthcoming to applicable employees and Departments.

Michelle Labadini, Norfolk County’s Human Resources Personnel Manager, continues to distribute health insurance information to Department Heads relating to COVID-19 testing, co-payments and deductibles, along with Employee Assistance Program updates. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to your Department Head so they may contact Michelle Labadini directly.

Like many municipalities at this point, we are having ongoing conversations relative to employee absences in connection with quarantines and/or employees who exhibit symptoms of COVID-19 or test positive for the virus. It is imperative you stay home if you exhibit symptoms of COVID-19 or test positive for the virus. More information will be shared relating to this issue as it becomes available.

The Coronavirus disease symptoms include all three of the following:

  1. Fever,
  2. Cough, and
  3. Shortness of breath

Please remember these best practices:

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds at a time.
  • Use alcohol-based hand rubs and gels.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Avoid sharing food utensils, containers and other personal items.
  • Cover your cough or sneezes.

We continue to remain in constant contact with our Department Heads, Norfolk County Agricultural High School leadership, local Boards of Health/Health Departments and the Massachusetts Trial Court. Further updates from County Administration shall be shared as they become available via Department Heads and through the ‘News’ tab on the County website at www.norfolkcounty.org.

This situation remains very fluid. We are grateful for your patience and efforts as we work through these challenges together.