PITTSBURGH, PA (December 2, 2020) The City of Pittsburgh has been working on pandemic planning since before mitigation efforts began in March, and continues to offer support to residents and employees during the latest spike in COVID-19 infections.
Though numbers change daily, roughly 10% of the City’s 3,300-person workforce is in quarantine due to symptoms or contacts with other infected individuals, with a small group that has tested positive. When workers at Public Safety have been exposed to serious cases of COVID-19 they have been given temporary emergency shelter away from their families and coworkers.
“City workers are continuing to deliver services, safely, to residents even during this worsening pandemic. We will continue to review our COVID-19 response efforts as cases are expected to surge this winter,” Mayor William Peduto said.
Essential employees are required to wear masks at all times and socially distance as much as possible, and are subject to health screenings at the start of all shifts. Subject to Governor Tom Wolf’s orders, all telework-eligible employees are working from home, and must coordinate schedules if they need to go into the office, to make sure few employees are in the office at the same time.
Each City department tracks cases, return to work dates, and designates coworkers to check in daily with those who are COVID-19 positive or quarantining. Official travel has been suspended but employees who travel for personal reasons must file reports with their supervisors when they return — they are reviewed by Emergency Medical Services and if deemed high-risk they are required to quarantine and get tested.
All City facilities are cleaned regularly, and if department officials request extra cleaning it is provided the same day.
With the City entering snow season, protocols are in place that require only one driver in each Department of Public Works truck, who is health-screened before starting work. Should a significant COVID-19 outbreak occur impacting snow removal service, the City has outside contractors on standby to assist.
Under the leadership of the Department of Parks and Recreation (Citiparks), those suffering from food insecurity have been serviced continually since the start of the pandemic, with the City issuing eligible residents almost 350,000 meals and counting.
With the assistance of Parkhurst Dining and the United Way of Southwestern PA the City has distributed approximately 265,000 Grab & Go meals to children and 81,000 meals to seniors. An additional 3,600 boxes of produce have been distributed to seniors at Healthy Active Living Centers since mid-August. Those distributions are continuing twice per week.
The United Way of Southwestern PA and Parkhurst have further provided approximately 1,340 family style meals including 190 turkey dinners before Thanksgiving. Another Family Dinner distribution is planned for mid-December, with further details to be released soon.
Citiparks continues to support families with take-home enrichment activities for kids PreK-5th grade. Some 460 families are registered for KidSMART Club its weekly STEM based activity kit distribution. Through the KidSMART Club over 5,000 kits will be distributed to help families provide quality, enrichment at home. Combined with the department’s CitiCamp @ Home, it has distributed more than 9,000 at-home learning kits.
With the assistance of the Global Links Community Partners program, Citiparks lately distributed the following items at senior centers for those in need:
Finally, Hygiene for the Homeless is an ongoing effort at the South Side Markethouse supporting those who are housing displaced. They are issuing clothing, coats, toiletries, small blankets, shoes and more to people in need, and are looking for donations of these items as well.