Coronavirus Prompts Extra Precautions in King County

Photo of coronavirus courtesy of CDC

Many businesses and organizations are being disrupted by the coronavirus (COVID-19), as people stay home to prevent its spread. In King County, Wash., where there have been 58 cases and 11 deaths as of March 6, the fleet operation is still working as usual, with extra precautions.

As of March 6, Jennifer Lindwall, director of fleet services for King County, reported few changes to operations.

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“Since our shop staff are located in remote areas, they are not having the same interactions with a large number of people as some of the county’s public facing operations. We are keeping an eye on the downstream potential like PM appointments are missed and the impact that may have on the reliability of the vehicle,” she said via e-mail.

The county has encouraged employees who can do so to work from home. She said half of the fleet administrative staff are using this option part of the time, while with technicians, the department is reinforcing good hygiene habits — washing hands frequently and not touching the face.

For pooled vehicles, the fleet operation has ordered a large order of Clorox wipes, and this will be accompanied by messaging for drivers to clean upon entering the vehicle and again after each trip.

The City of Seattle, the county seat, is also taking precautions. The city has deployed additional cleaning and disinfectant measures in its buildings and fleet vehicles. As a preemptive measure, the department had developed enhanced cleaning and disinfectant protocol for facilities and fleet and motor pool vehicles if a city employee is diagnosed with COVID-19.

“Make sure those continuity of operations plans are up to date!” Lindwall from King County recommended to other fleet managers.

This article was updated 3/10.

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Thi Dao

Thi Dao

Former Executive Editor

Thi is the former executive editor of Government Fleet magazine.

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