In Marvell, Ark., a tiny Mississippi Delta city of 855 residents tucked right into a sea of cotton, soy bean and corn fields, Lee Guest is a very important important employee.
He is the mayor and the assistant fireplace chief, and his day job is as a rural mail service. If the 4 staff of the native water utility don’t present up, he is aware of sufficient in regards to the system to maintain the water flowing, too.
“There’s a handful of us — we can go get stuff taken care of,” he stated.
So when he was away from work for every week after contracting Covid-19 at the start of the 12 months, the worn engine of small city governance and administration in Marvell, a few 90-minute drive southwest from Memphis, sputtered and coughed, but it surely chugged on.
Out of 13 full-time and 11 part-time staff, six have gotten Covid-19. One, who went to a hospital however wasn’t admitted, received sick in 2020. The remainder of the instances have examined constructive within the final three weeks.
It’s a well-recognized story in small cities throughout the nation, the place the spike in infections from the Omicron variant hit native governments with specific pressure. The virus has ripped by large cities like Los Angeles and New York, sidelining hundreds of cops and transit operators. In many, leaders have rushed to reassure residents that firefighters and paramedics will present up once they name amid file absences.
But in small communities, the folks liable for protecting essential public companies up and operating say the pressure is acute: With bare-bones workforces already stretched skinny, there isn’t a margin for error when a number of employees need to name in sick.