Caitlin Hernandez/Courier A breaking news image for PCC's first case of the novel coronavirus.
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A part-time PCC employee has become the campus’s first connection to the novel coronavirus after testing positive, according to an email from officials on Tuesday afternoon.

The employee, who’s symptomatic and quarantining at home, was last at the campus on May 13, primarily in the outdoor quad between 2:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. She’s currently employed through the federal work-study program.

PCC has already notified employees and others who may have potentially been exposed to the individual through close contact, and has requested that they self-quarantine for 14 days. 

Even though the campus is closed to the general public, PCC has allowed some staff members to return for certain tasks. But due to privacy restrictions, it’s unclear what role she performs on campus.

While she appears to have been exposed to the virus off-campus during the week of May 11, her workplaces have since been sanitized in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) guidance, according to the email.

Robert Blizinski, the assistant superintendent/vice president of human resources who sent out the notice, said the college is doing what it can to support them during this time. Blizinski says that like all other work-study employees right now, she is receiving her pay as normal.

“When the district [PCC] was informed that one of our employees tested positive for COVID-19, we immediately contacted the employee and assured them that we would: Assure the employee that this would not affect their employment status,” said Blizinski in an email to the Courier. “[We’ll] continue to pay the employee for any time they are scheduled to work. Extend any and all sick time benefits. If applicable, we would/will process as a workers’ compensation claim.”

The City of Pasadena is fifth in the county’s high tally of cases, but reported infections haven’t connected back to the campus until now. Officials say their preparedness plans are doing the job.

“As much as we can plan, there’s always going to be something unexpected — like what we’re seeing here,” said Alexander Boekelheide, assistant to the superintendent/president, in a phone call. “We have a response here that is in accordance with guidelines from the public health authorities and it’s going to help us operate safely for the campus going forward. We’re confident we got the right steps in place here.”

PCC reminds employees that are sick, or if they believe they have been exposed to a confirmed case of COVID-19, to contact their primary health care provider as soon as possible and notify human resources.

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