24 staff members at Waterford City and County Council tested positive for Covid-19 in January, board meeting minutes show.
Minutes of the Council’s management team meetings for January, which contained information about cases among staff, were released to the Waterford News and Star under the Freedom of Information Act.
On January 4, it was stated that the Council had been “advised of some new Covid-19 cases’” in their employees with “many others told to restrict their movements”. It was agreed that a message should be issued to all staff stating that, “where reasonably practicable to do so they should work from home”.
By January 11, the number of positive cases in total increased to 13 with 21 persons in self isolation.
At that time, the attendance profile of WCCC showed that 15.4% of the Council’s staff (56 people) were working full-time in person in the office, while 34.2% (135 people) were working in a “combined scenario” and the remaining 50.4% (204 people) were working full-time from home.
A discussion took place at the January 11 management team meeting about ensuring “staff are fully engaged as possible when working remotely”.
At the January 18 meeting, the management team were informed that 19 staff had tested positive and more than 30 were advised to self isolate or restrict their movements, with the number of positive cases among staff increasing to 24 by late January.
It is unclear from the board minutes whether the 24 staff who tested positive for the virus were working full-time or combined in the office at the time.
According to a subsequent response to the Waterford News & Star from Waterford City and County Council, the 24 cases were all confirmed as community transmission and there was no outbreak in Waterford City & County Council. None of the cases were identified as having been caused by workplace transmission.
“This reflects positively on the robust procedures and protocols introduced and maintained by WCCC very early in the pandemic and which remain in operation currently. The number of cases is merely reflecting the high incidence rate which was prevalent in Waterford and indeed the country at that time,” Waterford Council stated.