City reports first employee death associated with the coronavirus

The City of Brownsville reported its first employee death, a 68-year-old man, associated with COVID-19 on Monday.

To protect the family’s privacy, the city will not be releasing further information about the employee.

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of a member of the City of Brownsville family. We remain steadfast in providing for the safety and security of our employees, including the mental and emotional support needed” said Noel Bernal, City of Brownsville City Manager in a press release.  “We extend our heartfelt condolences to the family and loved ones.”

The City of Brownsville continue to emphasize the importance of following safety guidelines to prevent the spread of the coronavirus such as:

  • Stay at home, unless travel is necessary.
  • Wear facial coverings.
  • Practice social distancing and keep your distance of 6 feet from others.
  • If you are sick, call your doctor and home isolate yourself.
  • Practice good hygiene practices for everyday prevention measures, including frequent hand washing.
  • Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.

To avoid the spread of the coronavirus among employees, the City of Brownsville follows a recovery plan, which requires all city employees to wear a facial covering or mask during working hours, that has been developed in partnership with the BTX Recovers Commitee and  outlines the role and responsibilities of all city employees as they enter any city facility and continue to work throughout the day, The City of Brownsville said in a previous interview with The Herald.

“For example, all city employees entering any city facility must be health screened, including a series of 9 questions plus a temperature check. If the city employee answers all questions and does not have a temperature of 100.4 degrees or more, they may enter and are allowed to work that day,” The City Manager’s Office said. “The health screening is conducted again in the afternoon as they return from lunch to see if there are any changes.”

The City Manager’s Office also said they have developed a flowchart to identify the proper protocols for when an employee has been exposed to COVID-19 and it also provides a guide to the City Leadership Team to identify a low to high risk exposure.

“It also provides the protocols and steps to follow once an employee has been tested and is waiting for their results,” the city said. ” For example, once an employee is considered medium – high risk, that employee is quarantined.”

After the 3rd day after initial exposure, testing is conducted to the employee and if the results come back negative, that employee is allowed to go back to work; if the results come back positive, the employee is self-isolated for 14 days, the city said and added they also do contact tracing to help preserve other employees with whom they may have come in contact.