Tuesday, July 5, 2022

The city of Williamsburg tested its employees for the coronavirus, but officials won’t say how many were positive

Staffers who test positive will be placed on two weeks of paid leave to recover. (WYDaily/Courtesy of the city of Williamsburg)
Staffers who test positive will be placed on two weeks of paid leave to recover. (WYDaily/Courtesy of the city of Williamsburg)

The city of Williamsburg tested 199 city employees for the coronavirus on May 14 but it remains unclear how many employees tested positive.

Officials declined to release that information.

“The City isn’t disclosing the results of an employee’s test as it is a personnel matter,” Steve Roberts Jr., the city’s interim spokesman, wrote in a text message Monday afternoon.

City officials announced in a news release May 14 they had conducted “mandatory” COVID-19 testing for all 199 city employees as well as optional antibody testing.

“These screenings are essential to the City’s strategy to protect workers and comfort those with existing circumstances that make them more vulnerable to the pandemic,” City Manager Andrew Trivette, said in the news release.

RELATED STORY: Forward Williamsburg: Nearly 200 city employees tested for the coronavirus

WYDaily reached out to Trivette for clarification Tuesday morning but he was not immediately available.

Sandi Filicko, clerk of council, said Trivette was in meetings and recommended WYDaily to call Roberts, but he also was unavailable.

Mayor Paul Feiling said he wasn’t sure when the city received the test results, adding he thought each employee was contacted by the health department with their results. He noted he received his COVID-19 results within three days.

When asked how many city employees tested positive for the coronavirus, Freiling said he did not know any of the numbers.

“Oh gosh, you will probably have to check with the city manager on that,” the mayor said.

Freiling said he’s unsure why the city was not releasing information about the results.

“It’s tricky with health information because of people’s rights to privacy,” he said. “Yeah again, I don’t even know…that was never shared with me.”

Trivette later returned WYDaily’s calls.

“You know, I don’t have that in front of me,” Trivette said about the number of employees who were tested. “I don’t mind telling you how many were tested, but I won’t share the results of the test.”

Trivette said the Virginia Department of Health managed the testing process for the city and the antibody testing was through Velocity. VDH called the employees directly so he was unsure when all the city employees received their test results.

The antibody test results were given to the city’s occupational manager and infectious disease control specialist.

WYDaily asked Trivette why he would not share the test results for the coronavirus and antibody tests, noting that WYDaily only wanted the number of employees, not the names or positions of those who tested positive for the virus or antibodies.

“We consider it a personnel privacy issue,” Trivette said.

Other agencies in the Historic Triangle such as the York-Poquoson Sheriff’s Office and the Virginia Peninsula Regional Jail have released the positive test results of their employees.

City officials have asked employees to notify their supervisor if they test positive. Staffers who test positive will be placed on two weeks of paid leave to recover, officials said in May.

Dawn Hicks, the city’s human resources director, said the city has 198.5 full-time employees and 199 employees took the COVID-19 nasal tests. The city counts part-time employees as half a person and the number of employees fluctuates with the seasons.

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Julia Marsiglianohttp://wydaily.com
Julia Marsigliano is a multimedia reporter for WYDaily. She covers everything on the Peninsula from local government and law enforcement agencies to family-run businesses and weather updates. Before WYDaily, she covered Hampton and Newport News for WYDaily’s sister publication, HNNDaily before both publications merged in December 2018. Julia was born in Tokyo, Japan and moved to Long Island, New York in 2001. A true New Yorker, she loves pizza, bagels and good Chinese food. Send comments, tips and other tidbits to julia@localvoicemedia.com. You can follow her on Twitter at @jmarsigliano

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