Judge Bill English

Judge Bill English

The Lee County Commission voted to approve new procedures to deal with the coronavirus during an emergency commission meeting Tuesday afternoon.

Judge Bill English opened the meeting by stressing how important it is that Lee County continues providing services to the county, while still also protecting people.

New procedures, introduced by County Administrator Roger Rendleman, will ensure that employees do not try to come into work sick, but they can still be paid.

High-risk, exposed staff

Employees who are over age 60 and have underlying health issues such as heart failure, diabetes, etc., should stay home and not come into work for the next two weeks, he said.

“Mr. Rendleman identified a group of about 50 county employees who potentially fall in CDC’s high-risk category,” English said.

These employees will be compensated for the next two weeks, Rendleman said.

Any employees who have been in contact with someone who may have COVID-19 also should not come into work until they can produce a negative COVID-19 test, he said

The same goes for employees who have contracted COVID-19; they should not return to work until they have tested negative for the disease, Rendleman said.

“Right now, the last thing we want them worrying about is leave balances,” he said.

Sick leave policy

The county also will suspend its current sick leave policy, which states that after three days of sick time, the employee must produce a doctor’s note.

These policies are fluid, Rendleman said, and allow for changes.

“Due to the ever-changing nature of the pandemic, the chairman or the chief administrative officer are authorized to temporarily modify personnel policies based on CDC guidance and consultation with the other proper authorities as deemed necessary,” he said.

The commission discussed several other issues that could arise due to COVID-19, such as the effect on elections, local businesses and the courthouse itself.

English said that if officials are considering closing the courthouse, he would call another meeting and allow the commission to hear why.

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