With the dramatic rise in COVID-19 cases in the county over the past few days, the Crawford County Department of Public Safety is making temporary staff changes.
Emergency management, the coroner's office, and mapping and administrative assistant staff all will work remotely starting Monday, Greg Beveridge, the office's director, said Friday.
The move is designed to lessen potential COVID-19 exposure to the 911 dispatching staff at the building on Pine Street in Meadville, Beveridge said.
The Crawford County 911 center dispatches area ambulance and fire departments, as well as some municipal police departments in the county. It has to operate around the clock, seven days a week.
"I'm looking at the number of COVID cases going up," Beveridge said. "Even though they have their own individual offices (among the staff to work remotely), my concern is the less number of people up here the better."
The 911 center has a staff of 14 full-time dispatchers and several per diem dispatchers who work on an as-needed basis. Dispatchers work in shifts of two or three on duty, depending on the time of day.
"I don't have any concerns now (about COVID within the building), but if something would happen — it would stretch us thin and we'd have to cover with overtime (by staff)," he said.
Beveridge said he's concerned about the potential toll overtime could take on the staff if an outbreak were to occur.
"It's important we keep operating around-the-clock," Beveridge said. "We can't shut down."
Keith Gushard can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at email@example.com.