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City of Roanoke services may be affected by staffing shortages caused by COVID-related quarantine

City Manager Bob Cowell says he is concerned over number of city employees having to quarantine

With COVID-19 cases on the rise because of the omicron variant, the City of Roanoke is experiencing staffing shortages.

ROANOKE, Va. – With COVID-19 cases on the rise because of the omicron variant, the City of Roanoke is experiencing staffing shortages.

During Monday night’s Roanoke City Council meeting, city manager Bob Cowell voiced his concern over large numbers of employees in quarantine, which could threaten city operations.

“You see those numbers go up significantly. You start to get concerned about the ability to deliver essential services,” he said. “So that’s what I wanted to make them aware that we’ve got contingency plans in place, but it also depends on how fast that wave comes and how many folks are out at any given time.”

Services like law enforcement, fire, EMS and even trash pick-up, could be affected. There are plans in place in hopes of keeping services running as smoothly as possible.

“If for example, a fire station had a certain number of cases that occurred within that station. How would we take that station out of service and then backfill those service calls with another station,” said Cowell. “So, those are the kinds of plans in place,” he said.

Cowell says last week, there were about three dozen employees who tested positive.

“Through the two years we really have not missed a beat in providing essential services to the community and we haven’t yet done that in this case either. So, hopefully, we’re able not to go in that direction,” he said.


About the Author:

Sydney joined the WSLS 10 News team in June 2021.