Census Worker Says South Suburban Office Has Seen ‘No Change' Since Coronavirus Case

U.S. Census 2020 mailings

A U.S. Census field supervisor claims a case of coronavirus at her office in south suburban Matteson went unmentioned, saying it's "basically been covered up."

Kayla Hogan told NBC 5 she believes employees coming and going to neighborhoods from the office building put her and others at increased risk.

"I have an 83-year-old mother who has underlying conditions," she said. "This is just very serious."

In a statement, the U.S. Census Bureau confirmed it's Cook County South Area Census Office was "directly impacted by the virus," but stopped short of saying a case was reported.

"Out of an abundance of caution for the health and safety of our employees, the office is closed for a short period of time for cleaning, and will soon be operational with all guidelines set by the CDC and local public health authorities," the statement added.

Hogan claimed there has been "no change," no contact tracing or social distancing at the office since the case was reported.

She also said that personal protective equipment was hard to come by at times, but an employee with the regional census office told NBC 5 any employee who wants PPE can have it "right away."

"I'm scared," Hogan said. "Just frightened, because COVID is frightening enough. Then going out and doing this type of public service and work is scary in this climate. And to have them not managing it well is even more disturbing and very frightening."

The office, which is inside the Holiday plaza office building, was closed Friday. However the building itself includes other county and political offices that remained open.

An employee at another business told NBC 5 they're upset they weren't notified and saw a handwritten sign on the census office's door saying it was closed.

"I definitely think there should have been some notification that there was a confirmed case of COVID," the employee said.

A spokesperson for the Cook County Department of Health said they attempted to look into the situation, and discovered the census office was closed. The county spokesperson said she contacted the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to confirm the census office is under federal jurisdiction.

OSHA hadn't responded to NBC 5's request for comment as of Friday night.

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