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City of Birmingham to temporarily limit its in-person staffing due to COVID risk

The city of Birmingham is temporarily scaling back its in-person staffing in response to concerns about heightened risk of COVID-19 transmission following the Thanksgiving holiday.

“In an effort to keep employees and the public safe, the City of Birmingham will have limited staffing in its offices the week after Thanksgiving,” Chanda Temple, a spokeswoman for the city, said in an email.

“Medical experts have predicted that large groups of families and friends will gather this week because of the holiday. And during those gatherings, COVID-19 could spread.”

The plan, which will be in place this Monday through Friday, is part of “an effort to keep employees and the public safe,” Temple added.

Other coronavirus-related policies remain in place, including ones urging city employees to wash hands frequently, sanitize spaces and wear masks. Municipal workers have also been told to notify a supervisor if they have symptoms and plan to be tested for COVID-19.

“All city offices will be open and city services will continue, but all of that will happen with reduced staffing,” Temple said.

“Those employees not in the office will telework and remain on standby if they are needed to come into the office.”

The city of Birmingham plans to resume full in-person staffing in its offices on Dec. 7.

Experts are bracing for a surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations across the country this week, as people begin to fall ill following exposure over the Thanksgiving holiday period.

Coronavirus cases have been on the rise this month, and on Thanksgiving Day, more than 90,000 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 in the U.S. for the first time since the start of the pandemic, according to the COVID Tracking Project.

“Because of the decisions and rationalizations people made to celebrate, we’re in for a very dark December,” Dave O’Connor, a virologist at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, told The Washington Post.

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