Atlanta suffers trash collection backup as workers test positive for COVID

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms issued a mandate late Wednesday night requiring people in the city to wear masks in public to prevent the spread of COVID-19, a move that follows a number of other local governments that are openly defying Gov. Brian Kemp.
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms issued a mandate late Wednesday night requiring people in the city to wear masks in public to prevent the spread of COVID-19, a move that follows a number of other local governments that are openly defying Gov. Brian Kemp.

Credit: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Credit: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The positive coronavirus tests of 19 city of Atlanta public works employees has twice forced the city to shutdown one of its sanitation facilities and caused a backlog of trash collection, especially as it relates to yard waste.

During a wide-ranging media briefing Thursday, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms’ Chief Operating Officer acknowledged that the city closed down a sanitation site on Chester Ave. in the Reynoldstown neighborhood used to house equipment.

Of the 19 public works employees who have tested positive, 12 remain in quarantine and 7 have recovered said COO Joshua Williams.

“We are working diligently to make sure that we have the appropriate support staff,” Williams said.

Overall Bottoms said that at least 146 of the city’s roughly 8,000 employees have tested positive for COVID-19 and two have died.

Councilwoman Natalyn Archibong told Organized Neighbors of Edgewood on Monday that the city is looking for trash collection assistance from WorkSource Atlanta, the city agency that provides training and connects people with jobs. It is also enlisting help from corrections staff, she said.

A recent notification advised residents to continue leaving yard waste trimmings at the curb, and promised to not issue fines for the additional waste.

The city’s Office of Solid Waste Services had already seen an increase in its workload with more trash generated as residents spend more time at home during the pandemic. Customers have requested more bins than the city could provide.

The city has urged them to use generic trash containers until it can fulfill the demand.

Bottoms, who has been identified as one of a handful of politicians being vetted as a potential running mate to presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, also indirectly touched on that process during the briefing.

Bottoms said she has weekly and sometimes daily conversations with Biden’s campaign, but has not meet with Biden himself.

“I’m continuing to offer my support to the campaign in any way I can,” Bottoms said.

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