Two Stephens 911 employees test positive for Covid-19

  • Stephens 911 center is sheltering in place after receiving positive Covid-19 tests.
    Stephens 911 center is sheltering in place after receiving positive Covid-19 tests.

Two employees of the Stephens County 911 center are on home quarantine after testing positive for Covid-19.
911 director Danielle Rhodes said that on Monday, April 20, one 911 employee was sent home and was tested.
"At the time the employee was sent home, they did not have a fever and was only presenting (symptoms) with a cough," Rhodes said.
Two days later, on April 22, Rhodes said it was learned the test had returned positive and a disinfection team was brought in to completely sanitize the center.
"During this (sanitation), we had to vacate the communications room and had to answer and dispatch calls from another room within the building," Rhodes said, adding 911 services and field units were not interrupted.
On Friday, April 24, Rhodes said that the test results for other employees were received and that one of those had returned as positive for Covid-19.
"That (additional), employee is not on the current shift rotation and is on home quarantine," Rhodes said.
The situation has resulted with the 911 center implementing a shelter-in-place policy with two shifts rotating on a 7-day weekly pattern.
"This will essentially give one group a week of rest at home while the other group stays at the 911 center," Rhodes said.
"The 911 center is capable of emergency stays," Rhodes said.
"We have a full kitchen, sleeping quarters, showers, etc," Rhodes said.

Rhodes said that in early March the 911 center had begun implementing procedures and checking employee's temperatures to prevent contamination because dispatchers were in close quarters while on duty and unable to move away from their work stations.
"Communications officers were changing shifts in a way that would minimize contact with each other as much as possible and they were required to wear masks while inside the communications room, which is separate from other parts of the 911 center," Rhodes said.
She said the center has always had limits about public access to the building, but that those measures were heightened to limit the center to only employees and maintenance crews in early March.
"We are still monitoring temps and are still implementing strict disinfection protocols," Rhodes said.
The 911 center employs 13 people and one part-timer, including Rhodes.
Rhodes said the situation demonstrates the danger of spreading Covid-19.
"Even with doing everything possible to prevent someone becoming positive, there is always that chance," Rhodes said.
"However, I am confident that these measures have prevented earlier cases and hace cut down on the spread," Rhodes said.