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City employee who distributed meals tests positive for COVID-19


A part-time worker who had been tasked with handing out packaged meals to children at the city’s R-centers has become the first city employee to test positive for COVID-19, according to city officials.

The employee worked at South Avenue’s Frederick Douglass R-Center and the Adams Street R-Center and last came into work on Thursday.  The person was asymptomatic while working, and was later tested over the weekend after developing symptoms, Mayor Lovely Warren said during an online news conference Tuesday afternoon.

 The employee, who is under quarantine, received notice of the positive result earlier in the day.

Monroe County Public Health Commissioner Michael Mendoza informed city officials that there is no “heightened threat to the public receiving meals or coworkers of the employee” because the workers used preventive measures such as cleaning extensively and wearing masks and gloves, stated a news release from the city.

The county notified the city this afternoon that no other employees would need to be placed in quarantine, Warren said during the news conference.

In less than a week, nine R-Centers have distributed over 56,000 grab-and-go meals to school-aged children, according to the city. Warren said that the “grab-and-go” meal program will continue as usual.

“While distributing, workers are wearing masks, they’re wearing gloves, throughout the day they’re changing their masks and gloves,” Warren said. “We have that (personal protection equipment) available to our workers on site.”

The employee, a city resident, is said to be doing well in quarantine and will be cleared to go back to work after a minimum of two weeks.

“We have to recognize this is our new normal, we will have more people test positive as more tests are given out,” Warren said. “The first thing we can do is be honest with the public, and second is to take every precautionary measure to make sure the public is safe and our employees are safe.”

As of Tuesday afternoon, 106 people in Monroe County had tested positive for COVID-19. Earlier Tuesday, Mendoza announced the county’s third coronavirus death.

Gino Fanelli is a CITY staff writer. He can be reached at