PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner claims county employees are being required to come to work unless they’re symptomatic and provide an excuse through a healthcare provider.

KDKA’s Andy Sheehan reports Wagner says those who don’t come into work face losing their jobs. She’s calling this unfair and unnecessary amid the coronavirus outbreak.

In a statement of the testimony Wagner plans to deliver to county council Tuesday evening, she says “nearly all” county employees are being asked to come into work unless they’re symptomatic and have an excuse. However, she goes on to say that people with coronavirus can be asymptomatic and that there is evidence of community spread in the county.

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf issued a stay-at-home order for Allegheny County yesterday. The governor says people can still go to work if it’s a life-sustaining business or they have a waiver.

“We really need people to stay home,” Wagner told KDKA.

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Wagner says only employees who do “essential work” should be required to come to work.

The county responded, saying:

“Every government has the responsibility to ensure the health, safety and welfare of its residents. Particularly during times of emergency, residents rely even more on the services offered and performed by county employees. The county also has a part to play in helping to slow the spread of the disease. As a result, working with all departments, changes have been implemented for many of our operations while still continuing to provide the integral services that residents rely upon. Individuals who have business with the county are also encouraged to utilize online services and other resources to limit interaction.

As with all changes made as a result of this pandemic, these changes will continue to be reviewed and additional adjustments will be made as necessary. County administration will also continue to review its continuity of operations plans (COOP) as it relates to impact of COVID-19 on the county’s workforce.”

An Allegheny County Council meeting was held on Tuesday night and Wagner’s concerns were brought up.

No action was taken, but the council did acknowledge there is no clear directive for many of the county’s workers.

Wagner says each department needs to be empowered to come up with a plan.

Councilwoman Bethany Hallam also introduced legislation to get non-violent offenders released.

As of Wednesday afternoon, there were 58 active COVID-19 cases in Allegheny County and two coronavirus-related deaths.

Stay with KDKA for the latest on this developing story.

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