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4 Henrico DPU employees test positive for COVID-19; trash-collection services impacted

Some Henrico County refuse-collection customers are experiencing a 24-hour service delay this week and potentially through June 26 as the Department of Public Utilities (DPU) manages short-term staffing shortages due to COVID-19.

Four refuse-collection employees in DPU’s solid waste division have tested positive for the coronavirus and are isolated at their homes. Another five staff members in the division who had contact with those employees are in quarantine for 14 days at their homes.

Steve Yob, deputy county manager for community operations, said three of the employees were experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 prior to being tested and a fourth was asymptomatic. The four cases were unrelated, he said.

Following the initial positive tests, Henrico Employee Health Services tested the other 50 employees in the division for the virus; all tests were negative. The solid waste facility at Woodman Road, including trucks and equipment, has been sanitized and undergone a deep cleaning.  

“First and foremost, our thoughts are with our coworkers who tested positive for COVID-19, and we wish them a speedy recovery,” Yob said, noting that they are “on the mend” at their homes. “Their well-being — and the health of all our employees and customers — is our greatest concern. They work hard every day to provide essential services to Henrico’s residents.”

The resulting staffing shortages are affecting several collection routes and about 5,000 customers each day, Yob said. Customers whose trash is not picked up on the scheduled day are being prioritized for collection the following morning. The division aims to have all the week’s routes collected by the end of business Saturday.

“We are grateful for our customers’ patience as we work through these extraordinary circumstances,” he said.       

The delays will impact customers countywide and may continue through Friday, June 26. Customers whose trash is not picked up within 48 hours of their scheduled collection day are asked to contact Henrico DPU by email at [email protected].

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