An unspecified number of people working at the Guilford County Animal Shelter have tested positive for COVID-19, the county has announced.

The press release referenced “positive tests for COVID-19” at the shelter and said “individual(s) working at the shelter have tested positive,” but did not specify the number of people who were infected.

The infections took place the week of May 4-8, according to the press release, and said Guilford County Animal Services is working with the county public health department to determine when the workers can come back. The press release also indicates that testing for all animal shelter staff began on Tuesday afternoon.

Staff at the animal shelter were already reporting to work on split schedules to reduce the risk of infection, according to the press release.

“We have been preparing for this potential situation since the pandemic started,” said Jorge Ortega, director of animal services. “GCAS has been and will continue to be an essential public service. We will continue to help the animals in our community while ensuring those pursuits are not posing undue risks.”

To prevent the spread of COVID-19 at the shelter, the agency has also suspended the volunteer program, while moving animal surrenders to the main gate and requiring appointments for adoptions.

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