City of New Orleans rescinding furloughs for NOPD, EMS and other departments as COVID cases surge

FULL: Jan. 4 City of New Orleans COVID news conference

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) -Mayor Latoya Cantrell announced Monday that she is lifting furloughs for several city departments as the city continues to combat surging COVID-19 cases in New Orleans.

Furloughs are being rescinded for the New Orleans Police Department, New Orleans Fire Department, N.O. EMS, New Orleans Health Dept., and the Juvenile Justice Intervention Center.

“I’m glad to announce that as of yesterday we are lifting the furlough requirements from public health first-responders, police department, fire department, EMS and health department and I am removing requirements at the juvenile justice center due to their acute staffing needs as it relates to the consent decree. We are making this move as part of a much broader effort to restructure how we use our public employees,” Mayor Cantrell said.

This will impact approximately 2,200 city employees at a cost of about $16 million.

“We are depending on stimulus funds and changes in spending habits brought on by the vaccine,” said City of New Orleans CAO Gilbert Montano.

Health Dept. Director Dr. Jennifer Avegno was also present at Monday’s news conference.

“We are still in Phase 1A for healthcare workers and others. Right now pharmacies have 10,000 doses. That’s not nearly enough for every elder that wants to receive a vaccine in Louisiana. We really have to manage expectations. As much as we’d like to have 4.6 million doses and 400,000 in New Orleans available immediately, that’s not a possibility . The state is reliant on the federal pipeline, Avegno said.

“We are not out of the woods. In fact we may be in a worse place than we were in April.”

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