Employee with COVID-19 says DC 911 center was slow to implement social distancing

Michelle Enoch has been in the hospital battling COVID-19 since May 4, she believes she contracted the virus at work for D.C.'s Office of Unified Communications and she says managers were slow to fully implement her requests for social distancing.

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Enoch's sister Sharon Poynter tells FOX 5 her sister's battle with the disease has bad days and days that are slightly better.

"Some days she just feels that she's going to die," Poynter said.

Poynter says Enoch, who has chronic asthma, began sending emails to superiors at OUC on March 18 requesting social distancing in her work area.

OUC told FOX 5 workspaces for essential call takers had social distancing implemented by mid-March, but an e-mail Poynter provided from a supervisor makes it clear that didn't happen in Enoch's section until at least March 27.


The supervisor says to Enoch "we are in the process of completing social distancing for 311."

"By the time they finally decided to implement social distancing in her workplace it was the 27th of March and as you know by the 27th of March they could have done better," Poynter said.

Ponyter also says despite a new DC law requiring employers to provide two weeks paid medical leave for a COVID-related quarantine period, Enoch's medical leave request was initially rejected.

It remains unclear if Enoch's leave period was approved.

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OUC Director Karima Holmes declined an interview request from FOX 5. OUC also said it could not respond directly to Enoch's situation.

OUC did provide FOX 5 pictures of the call-taking center from Wednesday in which employees were not seated directly next to each other. Yet a second employee tells FOX 5 that workers were sitting next to each other as recently as Tuesday.

According to OUC, the agency screens employees for fevers, allows certain employees to telework on a rotating basis, has increased cleanings and has required masks to be worn in work facilities.

Of the nearly 250 employees who still report to work daily OUC says eight have been diagnosed with COVID-19.

No COVID-19 related deaths have been reported, according to the agency.


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