Trumbull County Reopens Government Offices

WARREN, Ohio – Trumbull County will reopen government offices today that were closed March 26 after two maintenance workers were hospitalized with COVID-19 symptoms, says Commissioner Frank Fuda.

One Trumbull County maintenance worker remains hospitalized, another was released from care and 10 other workers remain in quarantine after having direct contact with the diagnosed workers.

The buildings were ordered closed March 26 by Trumbull County Combined Health District Commissioner Frank Miggliozzi as a precaution after employees made it known they were feeling symptoms. 

During a conference call Tuesday afternoon between county officials, department heads and health department leaders, the county commissioners made the decision to reopen the buildings. Miggliozzi was on the call as the public health adviser to the commissioners.

Fuda says commissioners decided the cost of hiring an industrial cleaning company to disinfect the buildings was too costly, and since the buildings have been dormant for more than five days, the buildings could be opened and custodial workers would wipe down surfaces. Today’s 10 a.m. Commissioner’s has been canceled.

Due to privacy issues, health officials will not release the name of the worker who is hospitalized or whether he tested positive. Fuda reported March 24 that a maintenance worker was positive for COVID-19. Fuda and other officials reported that the worker was in intensive care on a ventilator March 27. 

In a Facebook Live post Sunday, Commissioner Dan Polivka gave an update on the two workers.

“Good news came back today. One of our employees who was in the hospital came back negative. Thank God, prayers do work. Also continue to pray for the other gentleman who’s still in the hospital. Pray for him and his family,” he said.

In Ohio, 56 people have died from COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, and there are 2,200 confirmed cases. Trumbull County has 51 cases with 32 hospitalizations and three deaths. Mahoning County reports 153 total cases and nine deaths. Columbiana County reports 15 cases and two deaths.

Polivka says officials were in discussions over the weekend with two companies for pricing on deep industrial cleaning. Bids ranged from $180,000 to $200,000. 

“We planned on doing the cleaning with a company, we wanted to do it, but then the bids came in at nearly $200,000,” Fuda said. “We just don’t have the money right now. We’re worried about the possibility of laying off people at the end of the year.”

The majority of employees will continue to work from home to adhere to social distancing guidelines outlined by state health officials, Fuda says.

“We have been cleaning, disinfecting and wiping down everything since this pandemic started,” Polivka said, adding that a company previously cleaned using a spray disinfectant.

The rest of the maintenance crew who were not in direct contact with the diagnosed workers will be on limited schedules, with a rotating three on-two off schedule.

“The maintenance guys said they’re feeling OK and we’re fortunate that everyone is moving in the right direction,” Fuda says. 

After an emergency meeting March 26 with commissioners and health officials, Health Commissioner Miggliozzi ordered all buildings to be closed, including the courts, were closed and all employees except emergency essential employees were sent home. Polivka and Fuda say several of the workers had fevers. All government buildings were closed because the custodial staff rotates shifts through buildings.

The only method for business for the title office or the auditor’s office has been a drop box outside the office doors. 

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.