By Connor Linskey
On Dec. 7, a Town of Shawangunk Highway Department employee tested positive for COVID-19. The employee was in the office with other employees, forcing them all to be quarantined.
At Thursday’s Shawangunk Town Board meeting, Highway Superintendent Joseph LoCicero asked the board to develop a plan in the event this happens again.
“None of them that I know have any effects of COVID. Matter of fact the one that popped positive doesn’t have effects of COVID, he’s asymptomatic,” LoCicero said. “They’re all fine. As far as I know they’re all sitting home, so I have no one in the barn at this point. If we were to hold them to two weeks quarantine, I wouldn’t get them back till the 22nd, which would make no sense because they really wouldn’t come back to like the 28th because of Christmas.”
In response to this incident, the town board adopted the New York State Department of Health guidelines, which state that asymptomatic essential workers who test positive for COVID-19 can return to work immediately. While at work they must isolate themselves from other employees as well as clean and disinfect their work areas. Asymptomatic employees must also quarantine when they are at home. Essential workers must receive their test results before returning to work. Essential town employees include the highway and police departments, bookkeepers, town clerk and the building department.
“This is just a stepping stone,” said Shawangunk Town Supervisor John Valk Jr. “We need to come up with a new pandemic policy by April for the employees… This needs to be tweaked so that the highway superintendent has guidelines of how he can operate his department… We have to have somebody working.”
The town board said hello to a new employee and goodbye to another during their meeting. Robert Sisco was sworn in as a part-time police officer. Planning board member Cathy Terrizzi resigned. Terrizzi served on the planning board for about five years. Valk noted that she resigned, as she is moving.