Some 25 Alachua County employees have tested positive for COVID-19, threatening to affect regular county operations.
“We are approaching the point where County services (such as trash pickups and road maintenance) may be impacted,” county spokesman Mark Sexton wrote in a statement emailed out Tuesday afternoon.
The county staffing issues come as the highly contagious omicron variant rolls across the country. Last week Alachua County recorded more than 2,000 new COVID-19 cases, more than triple the number recorded the prior week and more than at any point in the delta variant wave that hit North Central Florida in late July.
“Alachua County staff are working diligently to provide uninterrupted government services and appreciate the understanding of County citizens during this challenging time,” Sexton wrote. “For those who must visit County buildings in-person, face masks are strongly encouraged regardless of vaccination status. For those attending meetings in the Jack Durrance Auditorium or Grace Knight Conference Room, masks are required.”
Testing delays have also cropped up as people try to return to work after the holidays, but in a phone interview Sexton said that is not affecting the county, since it carries out its own testing for employees.
“We still have a policy where if you’re not vaccinated you need to be tested once a week,” he said.
Sexton said County Manager Michele Lieberman is strongly considering reinstitution a vaccine incentive program for county employees who are not yet vaccinated.