KINGSPORT — Petworks Animal Services has been closed the past three days due to COVID-19 exposure of three employees, Tom Parham, president of the shelter’s board, told the Times News.
Parham said Petworks officials closed the shelter to the public out of an abundance of caution once it was clear some of its dozen or so employees knew they had been exposed to the virus.
Parham said he also tested positive for COVID-19, despite being fully vaccinated, but his symptoms so far have been mild and as of Monday afternoon he was feeling on the mend.
The employees who tested positive also were fully vaccinated, Parham said.
The goal of the shelter closure, announced on social media and on signs posted on the facility’s front doors, is twofold, Parham said: reduce the chance of spread of COVID-19 among employees (which would further hamper the shelter’s ability to operate); and, foremost, protect the public.
“We appreciate the public’s patience as we get through this,” Parham said. “We could reopen as early as (Tuesday), but only if it appears safe to do so. And everyone should know the animals are still being cared for by some staff and the volunteers who help us every day to disinfect the shelter, feed the animals and spend time with the animals.”
Parham said each animal gets attention at least twice a day, including turns outside to play in fenced run areas.
And the shelter is fully stocked with a wide selection of adoptable dogs and cats, Parham said, noting those in search of a pet can browse dogs and cats available from Petworks on the shelter’s website.