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Service reductions possible as COVID-19 sidelines more Kamloops staffers

As of Jan. 11, 30 city employees are at home and that number is expected to be up to 100 by the end of the week. The city has 700-plus employees
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The City of Kamloops is looking at potential service reductions as a result of staffing impacts caused by the Omicron variant of COVID-19.

CAO David Trawin told KTW on Tuesday, Jan. 11, that the seven-day average of city staff who have tested positive for COVID-19, are at home sick or are at home taking care of ill family members has tripled.

Thirty city staffers are currently off work and that number is expected to be up to 100 by the end of the week. The city has 700-plus employees.

“We may be at the point here in a couple of days where we may have to shut down some of the services,” Trawin said.

He said staff would be discussing the issue on Wednesday, including determining potential impacts on recreation services. Trawin said the city has staggered its snow-clearing shifts and has prohibited water treatment plant operators from holding in-person meetings together, due to the limited number of staff that can run the water treatment plant and their importance in keeping the taps running.

“The ability to have people at work providing these services could be concerning if we continue with the pattern that we’ve seen in the past two weeks,” he said.

The city’s pandemic policy includes testing unvaccinated employees and Trawin said some have tested positive as a result. He said testing will continue until further notice and no policy changes are currently being mulled. However, Trawin said that could change should the city run out of rapid tests. He said the city has a six-week supply, but more tests are expected in the coming weeks.