By Don Ball, The Pool Works, Largo Florida
As we all learn daily how to deal with this pandemic, I wanted to share our experience at The Pool Works with a COVID-19 outbreak. We had been extremely fortunate to be in an essential industry, keeping the business running during a time when many other industries had shut down. In mid-June we were taking every precaution we could, the same as everywhere else. The state had just re-opened on a limited basis, and I had just spent some time with one of our association’s members who had the fight of his life with COVID-19 and recovered. I heard firsthand what COVID-19 can do to a person.
On June 18 an employee learned that he had been exposed to some friends who became sick and tested positive for COVID-19. This employee had contact with many of our staff during that week prior to finding out he had been exposed. Our only choice was to quarantine him and anyone he had been in contact with as this was the CDC protocol.
This began a ripple effect that would go on for months. It would affect our business and personal lives in many ways we did not imagine.
The employee tested positive five days later with very minor symptoms. This has been the most frustrating part of the process: the testing.
I completely understand and respect the health care professionals, and the hard work they do pertaining to the testing. However, we had 10 people to get tested. The process and availability of the testing in our area was extremely challenging.
We eventually got everyone tested and waited for the results. A few employees continued work at first. We ended up with three additional positive cases. Thankfully, everyone had very minor symptoms and recovered quickly.
We had shut down ALL field operations after the additional positive cases and were on a work-from-home status.
It’s kind of difficult to build a pool from home!
On a good note, when we informed our clients of why we would not be completing their project on time, no one gave us any grief!
We continued the quarantine and began retesting after 14 days past the exposure. This round of testing took even longer. Most results took 10-14 days, others took 21 and 23 days for results.
The real impact was two-fold. First, and most important, was the impact to us and our families. Quarantine, when performed properly, is not easy. Many of us have worked together for so long that we are family, so the effects of isolation were seen and felt together.
The second was the financial impact to our company, which is still being felt. Looking back now, I am thankful daily that we had minor symptoms. This is certainly not the case for many. I am thankful that our employee shared with us of his exposure. Had he not, we could have unknowingly infected our families and friends, which I know we can all agree is all that really matters to us!
I hope this article finds you well, my friends. I know there are many of you with similar stories. I look forward to seeing all of you soon! Be safe!
Don Ball, owner of the Pool Works, Largo, Florida talks about the Covid-19 outbreak that happened at his company in June of 2020.