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Pima County puts some workers on leave during coronavirus outbreak

Pima County puts some workers on leave during coronavirus outbreak

From the April's Tucson-area coronavirus coverage: 1,200+ Pima County cases, stay-home order extended series

Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry

An unknown number of of Pima County employees ended their workday Tuesday with a notification to stay home beginning April 1, to help reduce the spread of coronavirus.

The county's decision comes after Gov. Doug Ducey issued a stay at home order that became effective at 5 p.m. Tuesday.

“The spread of COVID-19 through Pima County is growing and is beginning to tax our healthcare system,”  said Pima County’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Francisco Garcia. “This decision by Gov. Doug Ducey is necessary and will help slow the spread of this virus in Pima County and Arizona. We must protect our community and healthcare system to keep it from becoming overwhelmed. Please, for your health and safety, and the health of your family and our community – stay home.”

County officials said in a segment Tuesday a number of non-essential employees will be asked to stay home on leave until Ducey's order is rescinded. These employees are defined by the county as those who do not need to be physically present to perform their job functions.

All employees who are designated as non-essential, and who are unable to telecommute, will be eligible for both federal and county pandemic leave, which provides up to 160 hours of paid sick leave.

Non-essential employees with children who are impacted by school closures are also eligible for up to 12 weeks of job protected leave.

The remainder of the county’s employees, who are considered essential, will continue to work. However, the county says it is allowing as many of them as practical to work from home.

Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry has said about 70 percent of the county's 7,000 employees are considered essential.

The county defines essential employees as anyone whose function is essential to the effective operation of the county or who must be physically present to perform their jobs, or those employees who are involved in emergency response activities related to the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes the Pima County Transportation and Wastewater departments, the Health Department and the Community Services, Employment and Training Department.

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