MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – A total of 92 City of Myrtle Beach employees, roughly 10 percent of its workforce, has been affected personally by the coronavirus.
John Pedersen, city manager, wrote in an email sent to city employees on Sunday that the city has 44 employees now quarantined and 48 additional workers had been quarantined at some point. The latter 48 employees since have been released to come back to work, Pedersen stated.
Being quarantined does not mean an employee tested postive for coronavirus, it only means they came in contact in some way with someone who had tested positive.
“At this point we have had 5 employees who are confirmed positive, 3 in Police, and 2 in Building Maintenance,” Pedersen stated in the letter. One of the officers has been cleared to return to work. The other two officers and the two staff from building maintenance all worked in the same facility off 13th South, Pedersen said. The facility was professionally cleaned by a contractor on Friday.
Of the 92 employees affected, 58 are in the police department as shown in the chart below, which was embedded in the staff email. Mark Kruea, public information director with the city, said on Friday the police department has enough staff members to adjust to the health-related necessity, so it will not affect the department’s operations or coverage.
Below is the count by day of how many employees have been placed out of work. “As you can see, the numbers were consistently between 0 and 4 per day until yesterday, when we learned of the issue in the building on 13th South,” wrote Pedersen.
The city began to test the temperatures of employees at the beginning and end of each workday as of Monday (see procedures). Pedersen said the city is expecting shortly to receive a very large order of surgical masks that replace some of the masks that have been previously distributed to front-line personnel and to distribute them to office staff.
Myrtle Beach Police Chief Amy Prock posted the following message on Facebook, assuring the community that the safety of the community and the officers and their families is their priority.
“HIPPA regulations do not let me specifically identify any of the employees who has tested positive, but one in particular is in rough shape,” wrote Pedersen at the end of his email. “I would like to ask that you keep this unnamed teammate in your prayers.”
“The sobering discovery of the problem on 13th South is a reminder to all of us that that we need to treat this issue very seriously,” Pedersen stated. “Like in football, the best offense against this virus is a great defense. Remember the big 3 – wash your hands often, sanitize your workplace frequently, and maintain social distancing always.”