As COVID-19 cases continue to climb so too is the fear among employees at the Couva/Tabaquite/Talparo Regional Corporation after one worker tested positive for the virus.
Guardian Media was told the employee, who is currently hospitalized, received a positive test result on Tuesday.
The employee was said to be at the corporation up to last Thursday.
However, the workers, who asked not to be identified, said up until Wednesday of this week, employees who worked closely with the infected employee were in the building carrying out duties as usual.
“They did not want to send staff home and only until about lunchtime, they decided to spray the building so staff was told to leave for the time”, one worker said.
“The talk is the CMOH told the supervisors to send everyone home but the head refuse to take the verbal instruction and had workers there, so some workers ended up walking out the building because they were feeling unsafe”, the worker added.
According to another worker, “They even lied to workers who worked directly with the person and told them she was negative”.
Chairman of the Couva/Tabaquite/Talparo Regional Corporation, Henry Awong, confirmed to Guardian Media that an employee at the corporation tested positive. He noted that the building has been sanitized and the corporation has been guided by the Caroni County Medical Officer.
Awong stated, “We have our own internal sanitization crew. We sanitize every week and, in the case, where the person tested positive, we sanitized just as we got the information, and we continue to sanitize the entire building”.
Responding to the employees’ concerns, Awong noted that the corporation cannot instruct employees to quarantine. This he indicated can only be done by the office of the Chief Medical Officer.
“Other than that, if people go on quarantine on their own, they will have to take sick leave and so on. Is the CMOH signing those quarantine notices to the corporation to indicate whether people on quarantine so they can be paid”, Awong asked.
He admitted that the corporation’s operations have been affected with fewer staff members now available and people are afraid to come to work.
“We are not renewing food badges at this point in time because the staff are operating at 50 per cent capacity and the other areas are affected because we are rotating. However, we still maintain that we are essential because we have to pick up garbage, we have to clean cesspits and we still have to give people water”, Awong added.
He said the corporation intends to continue operating with whatever little is available.