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Dubuque County Recorder tells public: ‘stay away’ after COVID-19 outbreak across county govt.

DUBUQUE, Iowa (KWWL) ----- The Dubuque County Recorder is warning the public to "stay away" from county offices at the present time.

Recorder John Murphy says there has been "a recent COVID outbreak amongst numerous departments across county government."

"Recorder Murphy wants the public to be aware of what they are walking into if they chose to do business with county entities," the statement reads.

"Dubuque County has had a minimum of three departments that have had positive COVID tests in the last week. These departments work closely together and their department head does not require their staff to wear masks, yet they are still working with the public on a daily basis."

Murphy states he is "incredibly disappointed with the county response to COVID," and that he "would be shocked to learn that a public entity is putting their employees and the public in harm’s way."

Late Wednesday, the Dubuque County Board of Public Health recommended county supervisors reconsider a county-wide mask mandate after the push failed in September.

At time of writing, no such notice is posted on the county's official website.

READ THE FULL STATEMENT BELOW

"Dubuque County Recorder John Murphy Implores the Public to Stay Away from County Buildings.

Due to a recent COVID outbreak amongst numerous departments across county government and the county response (or lack of) to the positive tests and exposures, Recorder Murphy wants the public to be aware of what they are walking into if they chose to do business with county entities.

Dubuque County has had a minimum of three departments that have had positive COVID tests in the last week. These departments work closely together and their department head does not require their staff to wear masks, yet they are still working with the public on a daily basis. For co-workers that were in close contact, it appears that isolating/quarantine is essentially on a voluntary basis.  Thus exposing other county employees and the public to COVID19.

“I would strongly encourage the public to utilize mail service, online options and the drop boxes to do business with the county. Everything we do, can be done without it being in person.  I am incredibly disappointed with the county response to COVID and as a consumer, would be shocked to learn that a public entity is putting their employees and the public in harm’s way. I wouldn’t want my friends or family in the building right now and I feel obligated to express that to the public.”

Dubuque County is allowing for decisions to handle positive tests to each department head or elected official and some departments are lackadaisical about positive tests in their departments, who needs to isolate/quarantine and the use of masks.

Recorder Murphy states: “I am notifying the public because the county refuses to lead and this allows the public to make the decision for themselves. I apologize to the public on behalf of Dubuque County for our inability to act. Hopefully we can get all three Supervisors on the same page, protecting public safety.”

The Recorders Office takes COVID19 very seriously and has implemented an appointment only process for in person transactions along with the Treasurer. Sanitizes every touch surface between customers. Requires masks for all staff and the public. Has split their staff into two parts to protect employees from working closely together and protecting the staff function from having to shut-down in the event of a positive test in our office. Your safety and ours is priority #1.

AJ Capuano

Dubuque bureau reporter, KWWL

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