FARRELL – The city’s administrative offices will be closed until Wednesday after an employee’s positive COVID-19 test.
The municipal building remains closed to the public, as it has since the beginning of the pandemic in March.
“For precautionary measures, we’ve shut down the offices of all non-essential employees until Wednesday,” said fire Chief Mike Renner. “Police and fire are still working as usual.”
The administrative offices are separated from the police and fire departments in the municipal building.
Renner said the entire building has been sprayed down with an antiviral agent for the third time since the pandemic started. Previously, one police officer and one firefighter have tested positive for the virus.
However, the city’s protocols remain unchanged.
“We have been very diligently cleaning our surfaces and cleaning our building ever since the beginning of COVID,” Renner said. “We disinfect the building two to three times a week. We put in place what we felt was a very safe and working protocol to disinfect the building on a weekly basis.”
Mayor Kim Doss did not confirm reports of the positive test or the office closure. Doss said she had not talked to anyone in the office about it.
But Renner, who has been monitoring and recording the city’s COVID numbers, said no one else in the front office was affected. No one else had to be quarantined, although all administrative employees are working from home until Wednesday.
“When I discussed it with everybody that day, I asked everyone if they had been near (the employee) without PPE and all had masks on and had just been in and out of the office,” Renner said. “So I’ve been checking with the staff every day making sure nobody else has signs or symptoms.”
Renner said the city has made it possible for any employee to be tested if they so choose. He said every time anyone, including employees, enters the building, they have to record their temperature and have it verified.
Every employee must wear a mask when not in their own office or at their desk. Front desk employees must wear masks all the time.
Farrell had a 30 percent increase in its number of cases this past week. As of Thursday, the city had 77 cases, which is almost double the number since Monday. Renner said city officials are working closely with Mercer County Coroner John Libonati and county Emergency Management Coordinator Frank Jannetti.
“This is something that’s very alarming to a lot of us,” Renner said. “We’re all concerned about this. Obviously this pandemic is not going away any time soon.”
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