Milford reports 19 COVID-19 cases amongst city workers

After months of luck, COVID-19 has reportedly hit Milford’s city government in a big way.

“COVID has hit our employees pretty significantly in the month of December,” said City Manager Mark Whitfield said at Monday night’s City Council meeting.

While the city “really escaped most of COVID altogether through the middle of November,” he said that “as of the end of December, we had 17 confirmed cases, five of which had already healed and were back at work.”

Additionally, Mr. Whitfield reported that there were two more cases confirmed in the first week of January, bringing the city’s total tally of infected workers to 19.

He said these cases and Gov. John Carney’s orders on maintaining safe workplaces through the pandemic have led to some changes.

“We altered a lot of work schedules between December 14 and January 11 to have people work from home whenever possible,” Mr. Whitfield said. “We also split crews’ reporting times to try to keep folks segregated as much as possible.”

Mike Svaby, the city’s public works director, ensured the council that absences due to COVID-19 had not affected his department’s performance.

Lou Vitola, Milford’s finance director, had some insight into how the city’s coffers had been impacted. He said Milford’s Customer Service Department, which collects utility bills, had a lot of pandemic-related absences last month.

“In addition to scheduled holiday and vacation time and the governor’s order, we were very short-staffed,” Mr. Vitola said.

He said their minimized performance through this period shows that “the efforts that customer service undertakes really does have an impact on our figures.”

Mr. Vitola said in the four months leading up to September, the city had seen consecutive decreases in utility accounts and dollar amounts past due.

“In just three-and-a-half, four weeks with our relaxed efforts, we’re at our maximum number of past due accounts and we’re over 100,000 higher in past due dollars than we were at the last report,” he said.

Reach staff writer Noah Zucker at nzucker@newszap.com


Helpful Coronavirus links

Delaware Division of Health Coronavirus Page
CDC: About the Coronavirus Disease 2019
CDC: What to do if You Are Sick
Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center
AP News Coronavirus Coverage
Reopening Delaware: Resources for Businesses
Delaware Phase 2 guidance

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