Homeland Security worker reportedly told to return to work in Newark, despite coronavirus quarantine

Posted Feb 29, 2020

A U.S. Department of Homeland Security employee who traveled to China was told to return to her job in Newark earlier this month, despite protocol that mandated a 14-day quarantine period to screen for coronavirus, according to a report by The Washington Post.

Earlier this month, the woman, who works at the Newark office of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, returned from traveling to China and asked her boss if she should stay home in quarantine, the Post reported.

But her boss told her to come back to work by Feb. 10, in violation of a mandatory coronavirus quarantine period of two weeks, the report said.

The alleged violation is contained in complaints filed by the union that represent’s the woman’s coworkers, the report said. The woman’s name has not been released.

“U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services continues to monitor the coronavirus situation in close coordination with the White House, the Department of Homeland Security and various public health organizations,” Sarah Rodriguez, a USCIS spokeswoman said in a statement. “DHS has issued guidance mandating that employees returning from China adhere to a quarantine protocol.”

According to the report, neither the woman nor her coworkers have shown any symptoms of the coronavirus, which continues to surge throughout the world, with most of the reported cases in Wuhan, China.

The woman told coworkers she would be self-quarantining at work by sitting on the opposite side of the room from them, a union attorney told The Washington Post.

As federal, state and local officials buckle down and begin preparations for what many medical experts are saying is an imminent spread of the virus to the United States, the alleged quarantine violation causes concerns that some of the policies implemented by the federal Centers for Disease Control are not being followed, the Post reported.

One of the complaints was filed Friday, a day before it was revealed a patient in Monmouth County was being treated and tested for a suspected case of coronavirus.

If the patient tests positive, it would be the first confirmed case of the virus in New Jersey.

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