I-Workforce: COVID-19 on the Clark County District Lawyer’s Workplace

I-Team: COVID-19 at the Clark County District Attorney’s Office

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Viewers are reaching out to 8 News Now with concerns about COVID-19 at their workplaces. Now, the I-Team is looking into the Clark County District Attorney’s Office.

Employees there interact with the public. Many of them work in the Regional Justice Center in Downtown Las Vegas.

At least 12 employees have tested positive for the coronavirus so far, according to the DA. We’ve learned some of their coworkers disagree with how the office is responding to the situation.

“I”m scared to get this illness, and I’m scared to bring it home to my family, and I have people in my household that are high risk,” said one employee.

This individual does not want to be identified.

“I’m grateful to have a job in this climate, but at the same time, it’s like I’m not being protected, and it’s very frustrating, and I know that I’m not the only person in this position,” they lamented. “But many, many people are afraid to speak up because they need their jobs.”

The I-Team has learned that yes, additional employees are concerned, but others believe enough precautions are being taken.

We reached out the DA’s office, and in a statement, Steve Wolfson wrote:

As one of the larger departments within the County, we have seen several positive COVID-19 tests among our staff.  Since the pandemic started, we have had 12 employees test positive.  This is less than 2% of our 626 employees.

To answer your other questions, we do have some employees that work from home periodically, and this is based on operational need.  We do not have a ‘hard number’ for how many are NOT working from home, as this also fluctuates based on operational need.

We continue to update our staff with any new information from SNHD, CDC and County Risk Management, when it is received.  We also have informational fliers posted throughout work areas, reminding everyone about safety protocols, including wearing masks, frequently washing hands and social distancing at six feet or more.

I understand that this is a very uncertain and scary time we are in, and the safety and well-being of our employees is of great concern to everyone.  While we would like to have zero positive cases, based on the national and local statistics we recognize this is not realistic.  However, when we are informed that one of our employees has received a positive test, we in turn inform the entire division where they are located via email, and include information provided to us by the Clark County Risk Management department.  Below is the exact verbiage we consistently use in our emails to staff (the only difference would be in the last sentence…if it was less than 72 hours since the employee was in the building—which has only happened once–there is a thorough cleaning done, and staff is notified of such).

If you haven’t already, I would encourage you to contact Clark County Risk Management to inquire about any other protocols that may be used throughout the county.

Steve Wolfson, Clark County District Attorney

Those 626 employees are spread among five divisions and five locations, including Civil, Juvenile, Family Support (DAFS), Criminal and Administration.

The employee we spoke with says the process needs to be more timely, not just for the employees and their families, but also for the public they interact with in courtrooms and other locations.

The individual also wants stronger enforcement of social distancing and face coverings in the office, more availability for exposed employees to stay home, deep cleaning of work space after a positive case and more availability to telework.

“Something needs to change because people are going to get sick, and it’s not worth it,” they said. “It makes me feel like we’re not valued. You know, they say we’re essential. I think we’re dispensable.”

We’ve learned since the pandemic began, the use of face coverings at the Regional Justice Center has not always been enforced. At least one employee who works there is being hospitalized with COVID-19.

A policy dated June 2 states visitors and employees must wear face coverings. You can view County Court COVID-19 policies by clicking here.

Clark County’s risk management plays a major part in how the virus is handled with county workers. In a message to employees, they are urged to shelter in place at home when not working.