An employee at the New Bern office of Ward and Smith has tested positive for the coronavirus.
We immediately notified the employees who came into close contact with the impacted person, and per our policy, those people will be tested and will self-quarantine for fourteen days.
The impacted employee contracted the virus from exposure to a family member, and notified the firm of the possible exposure upon receiving the news. We are certain that the employee had no contact with clients or members of the public during the course of their job duties, and we have no reason to think that others in the office will have contracted the virus.
Out of an abundance of caution, Ward and Smith closed the New Bern office today. The office will undergo a deep cleaning and disinfection protocol over the weekend, and upon reopening on Monday, the cleaning procedures outlined in our COVID-19 policy will remain in place. Most of our attorneys and staff will continue to work remotely.
"Ward and Smith has been preparing for all possible COVID-19 impacts since the crisis started," explained Co-Managing Director Ken Wooten. "We've had a COVID-19 Response Team in place to advise our clients, and an operational team working with them to institutionalize best practices for creating a safe work environment. We are confident our procedures, including self-report requirements, daily temperature checks, thorough and frequent disinfection cleanings, and self-quarantine timelines, will help our employees remain safe and keep the virus from gaining a foothold here."
Brad Evans, Co-Managing Director, added, "And we are appreciative of our team's willingness to work from home so seamlessly. We are well-positioned to remain productive in terms of having redundant systems, "work anywhere" equipment and security, and a flexible and team-oriented staff. I'm confident, and thankful, that our clients won't see any change in service level."
If you are concerned that you have been in contact with someone with COVID-19, please follow the advice from your healthcare provider and North Carolina Health and Human Services.