Peoria city employee contracted COVID-19 virus


Peoria officials recently learned that a city employee has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus.

To protect the privacy rights of the employee, the individual’s name and department were not released.

Spokeswoman Jennifer Stein said the employee was last on city premises March 11, and that all known staff who had recently interacted with the employee have been notified.

In addition, specific instructions and exposure protocols from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were provided to these staff members, she said.

Anybody who has close contact with someone who tested positive should monitor their health and call their healthcare provider right away if they develop COVID-19 symptoms such as fever, cough or shortness of breath, according to the CDC.

Ms. Stein said the city is undergoing a deep cleaning of potentially affected areas, per CDC protocol.

Similar cleaning measures will be undertaken in various city facilities, and city staff will continue to disinfect and sanitize, she said.

“We continue to encourage the limitation of potential exposures through social distancing, alternate work practices such as telecommuting, and by avoiding nonessential meetings and gatherings,” she said in an email. “Again, events like this remind us that our entire community is impacted by this virus, and that we all must work together to limit its growth.”

The city is Peoria’s second biggest employer with more than 1,100 employees. Peoria Unified School District is the biggest employer with more than 2,700.

The number of COVID-19 cases in Arizona has reached 234, including two deaths.

All Peoria city buildings were closed to the public until further notice, effective  March 22.

City officials said the decision was made to take further action to protect the health and safety of Peoria residents and mitigate the effects and spread of COVID-19.

The closure includes all city buildings, facilities and public counters.

COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person, and the best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus, according to the CDC.

The following are steps provided by the CDC to protect one’s self.

  • Clean your hands often. Wash with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick. Put distance between yourself and other people if COVID-19 is spreading in your community. This is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.

Philip Haldiman can be reached at 623-876-3697,, or on Twitter @philiphaldiman.