Former maintenance worker at student housing company ODU says employees worked while infected with COVID

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NORFOLK, VA -Robert Ward is sick with COVID at Sentara Hospital in Virginia Beach.

“A few weeks ago, people started testing positive in the maintenance department where I work,” Ward said. “I was short of breath and couldn’t even walk,” he said.

Ward, fully vaccinated, tells us he contracted COVID-19 from his work at ODU RENT, a contract company not affiliated with ODU that provides off-campus housing for students.

“I went to the maintenance supervisors and said I have a baby scheduled for next week, and I’m not feeling well,” Ward said. “I told them we are not managing the epidemic well and we have people coming in and out of this office who are positive.”

Ward says four of his co-workers and his supervisor have tested positive for COVID. He told News 3 that two of them even came to work. We verified this by speaking to the owner of ODU RENT today, who confirmed it and told us he even had COVID, and said two employees came to work with COVID but were sent home.

“It’s not just alarming for my health, the way that this thing is diffusing this delta variant so that they allow us to keep working,” Ward said.

Ward showed us a doctor’s note he gave to his employer after he tested positive on Monday. He says he didn’t show up for work that he wasn’t let go.

The company confirmed Ward had been fired and said that was the case because Ward had not explained why he was quitting his job.

Ward now fears he has infected dozens of students.

“It was recently a freshman move in and there have been tons of moves I can’t even count the number of apartments I was in last week,” Ward said.

The owner of ODU RENT told News 3 on Friday that “no employee who tested positive had been inside a tenant’s home”

However, it is not clear if Ward already had the virus upon entering the apartments.
“People are dying from this thing, it’s no joke, they took it as a joke all the time,” Ward said.

ODU RENT released this full statement to NEWS 3 on Friday in response to Ward’s claims.
“Our company policy has remained consistent throughout this pandemic. All employees who tested positive or showed symptoms of COVID-19 were immediately discharged home, in accordance with Virginia’s standing standard. Employees are not allowed to return to work until they are no longer symptomatic for 24 hours. -hours and have been isolated for 10 days. All employees who may have had close contact with a positive employee should also be discharged home and get a PCR test. We recently took our COVID-19 policy a step further and require all of our employees to be fully immunized. No employee who tested positive has been inside a tenant home.


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