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Summit County Public Health Re-Assesses Staffing During Response to Coronavirus

photo of Donna Skoda
Summit County Public Health Commissioner Donna Skoda (at podium) says the 26 layoffs were mostly people who had face-to-face contact with the public, something that's being curtailed as they practice social distancing.

Summit County Public Health is adjusting to life with coronavirus, and it’s impacting the agency’s staffing.

The health department has issued 26 layoff notices, many for clerical positions or for people who worked face-to-face with the public.

Summit County Public Health Commissioner Donna Skoda says about half the agency’s 200 staffmembers have been reassigned to work on the response to coronavirus.

“We felt it was in our best interest to look at those individuals who we could not reassign and give them the opportunity to take a couple weeks. And we did issue the notices to them because we wanted to preserve their due process and their rights. But we’re reassessing every day to see who, in fact, could work and what they could do in what area.”

Skoda says they’re still fully staffed for food inspections and compiling vital statistics.

“What’s really dropped off is our dental [clinic]. Obviously, we had to close [it]. Our home sewage program. We’re not getting a lot of permitting, [and] we’re not getting a lot of inspections done out there. Individuals just don’t really want us on their property, nor do we want to be in their homes at this time. We also have going on some of our forward-facing home visiting programs. We’re doing those via telephone.”

Skoda adds that uncertainty over the future of grants also contributed to the layoffs: about half of their $25 million budget comes from grants.