TCI News

Short-staffed! TCI Government cuts back as 15 workers infected with COVID

#TurksandCaicosIslands – January 26, 2021 – Fifteen employees in TCIG, not including police have been infected with Covid-19 and the loss of this personnel coupled with those who have had to be placed in quarantine will cause a slow-down in service.  Hours have been reduced and the general public has been asked to use electronic systems where possible as the Government tries to manage the shortage in workers.

“The public sector recently recorded positive cases in 8 different departments.  15 employees (excluding the Police) were impacted with a number of additional staff having to be placed into quarantine.  The majority of the staff are located on the island of Providenciales,” said the Deputy Governor who also shared that hours are shortened.

“In response to your queries below, kindly note that the public service will continue its COVID operational hours of 9am-4pm each day.  With the lunch hour being observed from 1-2pm each day.  Prior to the pandemic operating hours were from 8am-4:30pm each day with the lunch hour being observed from 12:30pm – 2pm each day.”

The shift system is not completely new, though regrettably it is a step back; reinstating measures needed during another high infection season from June to November in 2020.

“Following the lockdown, the shift system was put in place as a precautionary measure to facilitate a safe return to operations in June 2020 and remained in place until November 2020 following a consistent decline in COVID cases. 

Having seen a recent increase in cases, it became necessary to revert to the previous system in order to ensure the safety of our staff.”

Amidst the announcement about the human resources challenges within public sector as the country surged by nearly 500 cases in around 34 days, the Deputy Governor, who heads the sector said the vaccine is available and staff should apply for the shots.

“Front line officers along with health care workers are prioritized for the vaccine, as is staff that have to interface with the public, children or the elderly.  We are encouraging all staff to take the vaccine,” said Mrs. Williams who was among the country leaders who took the UK-gifted Pfizer/BioNtech vaccinations on January 10, 2021.

Essentially, the work bubbles now established will hopefully keep the remaining staff clear of COVID.

“The shift system for health, safety and business continuity purposes divides staff into teams to minimize the impact any possible exposure can have on a department at any given time.”

There was no expiry date on when government services and office hours will return to normal.

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