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Dubuque city leaders ask state leaders to include drinking water and wastewater utility workers in next COVID-19 vaccination group

Published: Jan. 6, 2021 at 12:11 AM CST
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DUBUQUE, Iowa (KCRG) - Dubuque city leaders are rallying behind the state’s leading drinking water and wastewater industries to ask Governor Kim Reynolds and the Iowa Department of Public Health to include these employees in Group 1B of the COVID-19 vaccinations.

In a letter sent to state leaders, organizations like the Iowa Rural Water Association and the Iowa Association of Water Agencies said “drinking water and wastewater utilities are essential to the public health and economic vitality of the communities they serve.”

William O’Brien, Dubuque’s Water and Resource Recovery Center manager, said his department cannot afford its employees catching the virus, which is why he considers they should be vaccinated with the next priority group.

“We have limited resources, we have limited staff and so, should we have a large number of our staff become affected with COVID and have to be off for a while, we would really need to start calling in employees from other utilities who could be struggling with the same things we are dealing with,” O’Brien said.

In a city council meeting Monday night, Mary Rose Corrigan, public health specialist with the Dubuque County Public Health Department, said Group 1B is set to include people 75 or older, emergency and law enforcement personnel, teachers and school staff, child care providers, and adults with underlying health conditions.

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