Workforce of The Pandemic
By Paul Estares
In Monroe County, the cases of COVID-19 have been increasing. Since the beginning of the pandemic, millions of people have lost their jobs. Some of them have been fortunate enough to keep their position, but must now adjust to the changes caused by the virus.
Matthew Ginevra, 30, has been working throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Ginevra has worked at General Motors Components in Rochester for eight years. His job has allowed him to buy his first house four years ago. While the job has provided him financial security, the risk of catching the virus has made his future more uncertain.
Photo Provided by Matthew Ginevra
“People have already been disappearing since May. The department makes a statement about the people who caught COVID-19 after two weeks that they stopped working. This happens every two to three weeks,” said Ginevra.
The company and its employees are currently facing problems with securing jobs. Since testing positive for the virus puts an individual out of work, it means they will lose pay, even possibly their jobs. With fewer workers, the company may be forced to shut down.
“Even if someone tests positive, there’s not really contact tracing. If you have to take off work for two days because you came in contact with them, that’s $40-50 an hour they would lose. And there are not enough people to cover their shifts,” said Ginevra
Photo by carlos aranda on Unsplash
Ginevra works with different departments in his position as a team leader. His role includes being in close contact with engineers, managers, and other incoming shift members. He works over 10-12 hours per shift.
“We had a tech that was tested positive, and he was working with different people, he visited my desk like 3-4 times that day. But we had nobody to replace him. It was easier in the summer when there were college students doing coop, “said Ginevra.
Some workplaces have more restricted rules to follow. Vitaley Tsarevich works as a Maintenance Mechanic for the RIT campus. He goes to student housing to fix student issues with equipment and appliances. Since the report of COVID-19 cases on the campus, the doors of opportunity have stayed closed.
“There are signs on the building doors that beware that people are under quarantine. They’re places I can’t enter, only the people who are under contract,” said Tsarevich
Photo by Anastasiia Chepinska on Unsplash
In places he is allowed to work, there are strict protocols to follow to ensure student and employee safety.
“There are sanitation stations everywhere I have to use and the cleaners wipe down three times a day. For every job, I have to wear a mask, gloves, spray down my area, and use pesticides to kill germs,” said Tsarevich
According to the CDC data tracker, coronavirus cases have spiked dramatically in Monroe County since Halloween.
Covid cases trend upwards since October and early November.
“I was invited to a party last weekend, and I declined because I’m worried about my wife who has a weak immune system. I know a guy a couple of years younger than me caught it a couple of weeks ago. And none of the 50-year-olds have been getting sick,” Ginevra said.
Monroe County’s COVID-19 Dashboard has frequent updates and graphs of the COVID-19 cases. According to the Dashboard, confirmed active cases on October 30 were at 656.
The latest update from Monroe County on Monday, November 16 that there are currently 1,786 confirmed active cases. Monroe County has had a total of 10,323 total cases, 309 deaths.
As the pandemic continues to surge, the workforce will continue to face more situations that force them to choose between their livelihoods or their health.