Mill Creek Beacon - Your Hometown News Source

By Jana Hill
Mill Creek Beacon Editor 

City staff quarantined as tree lighting is planned

COVID positive employee announced during city meeting

 

Last updated 12/17/2020 at 1:15pm

Courtesy of pixabay.com

The announcement of a COVID-positive employee was issued as city officials made plans for an online tree lighting. All other city events have been remote, to adhere to state restrictions intended to rein in the spread of the virus.

Days after the announcement that a staff member tested positive for COVID-19, the city of Mill Creek did not have any more cases to announce, and did not have a specific update on testing-status among city employees.

It is unknown of any more than one employee tested positive for COVID-19.

Asked for a status update on testing or new cases, mayor Brian Holtzclaw said he thought if there were new cases, he would have heard by then, in a phone interview on Dec. 14.

He said city manager Michael Ciaravino, once he learned of the case, directed people to work remotely. Ciaravino was contacted via email for an update on the COVID-issue at the city and has not yet responded, as of Dec. 15 at 4 p.m.

In the last council meeting, as city officials planned a livestreamed tree lighting with Santa and other festivities aimed at celebration, the COVID risk they were protecting against with was not theoretical.

"Because of the occurrence of one of our staff members testing positive for COVID, we've been under quarantine," Ciaravino said.

Councilmember Vince Cavaleri asked why the city could not do an outdoor event rather than a virtual one. He said at the city council meeting that people could stay distant and safe outside.

"There's an overboard to these things sometimes, and I think the public is experiencing it. And Christmas is one of those -- maybe you make the argument for Thanksgiving -- and Christmas is just, to me, as a threshold that you shouldn't cross," Cavaleri said at the city council meeting.

Cavaleri's comment was opposed to the rules set forth by Gov. Jay Inslee's office on public gatherings that limits outdoor events to five people from outside one's household. Limits are spelled out here: https://bit.ly/3niDHow.

Ciaravino responded, saying at the meeting that the city will "have a holiday that is both safe and enables us to comply with the myriad of regulations, whenever someone tests positive, so we're doing our best here."

The go-to across all agencies has been Zoom, and that platform came into play as the city planned a tree lighting. The discussion was to light the tree for a few seconds and have "Santa" say a few words.

The city's website lists the tree lighting as canceled due to COVID-19, on a page-tab included a Candy Grab-and-Go for Halloween and a Veterans Day event. The candy event was designed as a drive-through, and Veterans Day was a mix of virtual and a uniformed mannequin display.

Details on the tree lighting details are still being planned. Check back for updates on the online tree lighting and other news.

Posted on Dec. 11

As city officials planned a livestreamed tree lighting with Santa and other festivities aimed at celebration, the COVID risk they were protecting against with was not theoretical.

"Because of the occurrence of one of our staff members testing positive for COVID, we've been under quarantine," said Michael Ciaravino, Mill Creek's city manager, at the meeting.

No response was received from the city on whether additional city employees tested positive, or the city's status in the testing process. The last contact made was Dec. 11 at 9 a.m. via email.

Councilmember Vince Cavaleri asked why the city could not do an outdoor event rather than a virtual one. He said at the city council meeting that people could stay distant and safe outside.

"There's an overboard to these things sometimes, and I think the public is experiencing it. And Christmas is one of those -- maybe you make the argument for Thanksgiving -- and Christmas is just, to me, as a threshold that you shouldn't cross," Cavaleri said at the city council meeting.

Cavaleri's comment was opposed to the rules set forth by Gov. Jay Inslee's office on public gatherings that limits outdoor events to five people from outside one's household. Limits are spelled out here: https://bit.ly/3niDHow.

Ciaravino responded, saying at the meeting that the city will "have a holiday that is both safe and enables us to comply with the myriad of regulations, whenever someone tests positive, so we're doing our best here."

The go-to across all agencies has been Zoom, and that platform came into play as the city planned a tree lighting. The discussion was to light the tree for a few seconds and have "Santa" say a few words.

The city's website lists the tree lighting as canceled due to COVID-19, on a page-tab included a Candy Grab-and-Go for Halloween and a Veterans Day event. The candy event was designed as a drive-through, and Veterans Day was a mix of virtual and a uniformed mannequin display.

Details on the tree lighting details are still being planned. Check back for updates on the online tree lighting and other news.

 

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