Wilmington Officials Advance Leave for City Workers Impacted by COVID-19, Provide Testing Info

Mar 18, 2020

While health officials have yet to confirm a coronavirus case in the City of Wilmington, city leaders are working to address resident concerns. Last night’s city council meeting -- which was streamed and held in an almost entirely empty room -- featured discussions on COVID-19 testing and city-employee paid leave.

A motion passed by council members on Tuesday, Mar. 17 now means any benefits-eligible city employee who is unable to work from home and has used all paid leave may take up to 10 additional days -- that is, until Gov. Roy Cooper lifts the state of emergency. The leave will be paid back to the city through a payroll deduction.

During a discussion of the resolution, council member Charlie Rivenbark brought up a concern:

“...if one of our firefighters or one of our police officers contracts this virus in the performance of their duty -- to me, that should be treated a little bit differently.”

Rivenbark moved to have language incorporated into the resolution ensuring that city employees who contract the virus on the job will receive paid administrative leave. That motion passed unanimously. 

Mayor Bill Saffo also asked about the coronavirus testing process, during a presentation by Intergovernmental Affairs Coordinator Tim Buckland. Buckland advised that community members first call their doctor or an urgent care facility if they notice any symptoms. If healthcare professionals recommend it, individuals can receive a test through public health or a private lab. Buckland says New Hanover County currently has 60 testing kits available.