Anonymous UMMC employee concerned about contracting and spreading COVID-19

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JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) — With the numbers constantly on the rise, all hands on deck are needed for COVID-19 testing.

One UMMC employee, who wishes to remain anonymous, said she was transferred into a testing position at the State Fairgrounds.

“The place that I have been moved to has put me on the front line testing people,” the employee said.

She said she lives with her elderly in-laws. Both have existing medical conditions that make them more vulnerable to catching the virus. 

The employee is concerned that the conditions she’s been working in are a recipe for disaster.

“The employees that are running the decontamination team have gloves on but they do not have masks while they’re taking off our gowns for us, untying our strings from the back, taking our helmets off,” the employee explained.

She said she wants is to be transferred back to her normal unit. The employee claims she brought her concerns to UMMC’s HR representative and she’s been given limited options.

“It was a threat,” the employee said. “I was told if I do not report to my assignment there would be consequences.”

She said that those consequences could even go as far as termination.

This employee told us that if this continues, she will be forced to temporarily move out of her home.

UMMC’s vice chancellor for health affairs and dean of the School of Medicine, Dr. LouAnn Woodward issued a statement in response:

UMMC does not comment on personnel matters, but we can advise that we are currently navigating an unprecedented time in health care. While we make all attempts to maintain consistency in the tasks of our workforce, we also have needs in different areas due to the pandemic. Employees who work in areas that are not operating at full capacity or have been closed due to the pandemic, are expected to participate in the necessary training or retraining and to accept temporary reassignments to other areas. All prescribed safety precautions are being taken in every patient care area, including the collection sites, which are operated in collaboration with the Mississippi State Department of Health. The safety and well-being of our workforce is of paramount importance and employees are also encouraged to utilize our existing internal processes to seek reasonable accommodations, as appropriate.

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