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DBPR employees allege the department is not deep cleaning or properly notifying them of COVID-19 cases

Published: Dec. 14, 2020 at 6:25 PM EST
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Multiple employees who work at the Department of Business and Professional Regulation’s Blair Stone Road office say they do not feel safe inside the building, alleging the agency is not following COVID-19 protocols.

The employees spoke to WCTV on camera and anonymously; both say there are two separate issues. They allege that deep cleaning of the building is not happening, and they say the department is not notifying them of positive COVID-19 cases, leaving them to play “Guess Who” around the office.

Katie Griffin works on the third floor of the building. She was on medical leave from mid September through early November; within a week of returning to the DBPR office, she tested positive for COVID-19.

Griffin notes that she tested negative twice before returning to work. She says she still cannot taste or smell.

She says she knows of five other employees who also contracted COVID-19 around the same time as her.

“Why are there so many cases of COVID on one floor?” asked Griffin.

She and another anonymous employee allege the department is not sufficiently deep cleaning the office.

Griffin says her bout with COVID was life altering; she says she is afraid of catching it again.

“I don’t want to feel like I could come to work and I could get sick from COVID-19, which is killing millions of people,” she said.

In addition to cleaning issues, Griffin and the anonymous employee say they are being left in the dark about whether their co-workers are testing positive.

“I understand the HIPPA law. I understand that they’re not supposed to disclose information about individuals. But at the same time, if there’s an epidemic in the office, I feel that out of courtesy they should say there’s been an outbreak,” said Griffin.

Griffin has had additional issues trying to set up remote work options and was told to return to work on Monday, December 14th.

“I’ve been working for the state of Florida for 18 years. Of course we want to work,” she said. “But make us feel safe!”

WCTV reached out to DBPR asking about the nature of the deep cleaning practices in place, the procedure for notification of a positive case, and if there is a certain number of positive cases that would result in a shutdown of the office.

They released the following statement:

DBPR has implemented health and safety measures for all employees in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and is following all CDC guidelines, conducting additional cleaning of public spaces and high touch areas. Custodial plans have been enhanced to add attention to common touch points and hand sanitizer stations have been installed in high traffic areas.

DBPR has instructed employees to stay home and notify a supervisor if they or someone they live with are experiencing COVID symptoms and to notify a supervisor and leave work immediately if symptoms develop while at work. The Department maintains communication with the employee, performs contact tracing and determines whether other staff members need to isolate based on contact with an impacted employee, while respecting health privacy laws. DBPR also coordinates any necessary cleaning of offices according to published CDC guidelines following a repeated case of the virus.

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