An employee of The Indianapolis Public Library’s Central Library is under quarantine after testing positive for COVID-19. The staff member learned they had been in close contact with someone who tested positive on July 20 and was sent home, and has not been to work since. Subsequently the staff member was tested and remained at home while awaiting results. Library administration was notified of the staff member’s positive test on Saturday July 25, initiated contact tracing protocols, and the staff member immediately began a 14-day self-quarantine.
Internal contact tracing showed that only one other staff member was found to have possibly had close contact with the individual (defined as within six feet for ten or more minutes), and that person will also self-quarantine.
Close contact with patrons was not discovered. Library staff members follow safety protocols while interacting with patrons, including wearing face masks. Those who visited Central Library on or around July 12-20 are encouraged to self-monitor for any symptoms.
“The safety of our staff and patrons is our priority, and we are confident that our safety protocols and workflows have mitigated risk,” said Jackie Nytes, Library CEO. “Nonetheless, we want to be transparent with the public while we all work as a community to safely navigate this pandemic.”
Central Library has had routine deep-cleans and underwent another deep-clean on Saturday night. All Indianapolis Public Libraries have had a face mask requirement in place since reopening in June. Other precautions include capacity limits at libraries, one-hour time limits for patrons when necessitated by building capacity limits, accessible hand sanitizer, regular surface cleaning, and 72 hour quarantining of returned books and other library materials.
“The Library is essential for residents who need access to information, materials, wi-fi, and computers,” said Nytes. “We hope to fulfill our mission of providing access to these services as safely as possible.”
This is the first known instance of a public-facing staff person testing positive for COVID-19. Any future incidents of potential COVID-19 exposure at libraries will be posted at indypl.org.