The latest surge of COVID-19 “ will place a major strain” on Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council's staff resources in the weeks and months ahead, the local authority has said.
Northern Ireland is currently experiencing an upward trend in close contacts requiring self-isolation due to a surge in infections linked to the Covid-19 Delta virus variant, with 1,776 positive cases of Covid-19 reported by the department on Monday, and figures set to rise substantially in the coming weeks.
This is having an impact on many public and private organisations, that are now subject to significantly increasing numbers of employees self-isolating after being notified as close contacts.
The council is one of the major employers in the borough, employing over 1,700 people.
The Lord Mayor of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon, Alderman Glenn Barr said: “As a Council we are not immune to this evolving situation, and we are continually adapting and managing our way through this pandemic, and are now facing into a fourth wave.
“As an organisation, we are anticipating that this will impact on services as staff resources become increasingly stretched across a wide range of departments.
“Skilled staff will increasingly becoming unavailable for duties, and replacing their expertise cannot be rectified by redeployment or agency staff, particularly in specialist areas. Council is now facing a period of significant pressure to maintain services due to the ongoing resource implications from Covid-19.”
At this time, the council is reassuring the public that it is dealing with this situation as efficiently and effectively as possible, however the number of staff affected is increasing. The council’s main priorities will continue to be the safety of its staff and the public, and to ensure the delivery of essential services, as it has done throughout the pandemic.
The Lord Mayor added: “Council staff at every level, are working incredibly hard and are committed to adapting and pooling resources where possible, however I would ask the public to be mindful that this may not always be possible due to the skilled nature of specific roles.”
Council is preparing to enter into a significantly challenging period, and is asking the public for continued support as it strives to deliver services throughout this ever changing situation. Members of the public are advised to log on to the council website www.armaghbanbridgecraigavon.gov.uk, or to follow social media for updates to service delivery.