MFalls personnel quarantine for virus


A string of voluntary COVID-19 antibodies testings resulted in one positive case, which prompted city staff who came into contact with the infected person to self quarantine for a 14-day period, officials confirmed. Antibodies tests are conducted to show if you’ve had a past COVID-19 infection which may or may not have resulted in symptoms.

Marble Falls Fire Chief Russell Sander offered insight into the time period involved and circumstances leading to a series of changes to personnel schedules and reporting procedures.

“Over the past four months, 18 employees were asked by their doctor to self-quarantine. To date, only one employee tested positive for COVID-19,” Sander said in June 10 statement to The Highlander.

Sander is also the coordinator of the area’s emergency operations center, who assisted the city in securing Coronavirus Relief Funds through the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security) Act to pay for the tests.

“The city chose to offer the antibodies test to front line employees based on the recommendation of Dr. (Juliette) Madrigal (Burnet County Health Authority) and to support our employees as we deal with the pandemic,” he said. “The testing is voluntary. We have been working over the past several weeks on the logistics of offering this test, long before our first employee tested positive for the virus.”

So far, the reported self-quarantine time period has passed.

“The employee called in sick when they did not feel good and had not been at work for over 14 days,” Sander stated. “The other employees were asked by the doctor to self-isolate out of an abundance of caution. Currently, no employees are under self-isolation.”

City offices will remain open, however, with additional health safety protocols.

“The city has taken the recommended actions from CDC and the Texas Department of State Health Services, including, but not limited to, disinfecting several times each day, temperature checks, providing personal protective equipment and staggered shifts,” he stated. “These measures helped stop the spread as no other city employee in the affected employee’s department had developed symptoms in 14 days — the time it takes for symptoms to develop.”