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Call center workers helping laid-off NYers fear coronavirus exposure

Unemployed and looking for overall health insurance? New York state offers promised to aid, but it may possibly be endangering its call center workers in the process, The Post has learned.

The contract workers responsible for helping the growing throngs of out of work New Yorkers find affordable overall health insurance say they are taking away work to avoid catching often the deadly disease as their co-workers get sick plus they run away of Clorox wipes.

The absences may be contributing to be able to longer-than-expected wait times, which ended up already up due to a good surge in demand, workers declare. A call to the state’s public health-care exchange this 1 week quoted a wait time regarding more than 30 minutes.

“It’s a ghost town there. People are afraid to come to work,” said Karly Norgaise, a good quality control worker at a good Manhattan call center. She mentioned only 11 people were operating on her floor â€? which will normally houses about 60 individuals â€? when she was continue there on April 3.

“I’m staying home because I’m really scared now,” Norgaise told The Post.

Complaints include inconsistent adjustment of social distancing rules together with a lack of sanitizing provides. Norgaise and her colleagues ingested Clorox wipes for a when, but the office ran away by last week, she mentioned.

One worker at often the Albany call center has arrive down with COVID-19, staffers mentioned, and they have faced a good number of suspected cases, as well as one at the Broad Street location where Norgaise works.

Maximus, the contract company which will runs the hotline for New York’s health coverage marketplace, says wait around times were up at often the start of the virus emergency “due to unexpected demand,” but claims average wait around times have since come along.

It also denies which will it has been lax within keeping workers safe, saying there are ramped up sanitizing in series with federal standards, and spent more resources in “safeguarding our employees,” relating to Maximus spokeswoman Lisa Miles.

Maximus says 875 regarding its 2, 900 workers throughout the state, including some regarding its 1, 500 call center staffers, are working from residence â€? a number that’s envisioned to grow.

“Ensuring the safety and well-being of Maximus employees is paramount to ensure that citizens continue to have access to the most essential programs,” Miles told The Post in a good e-mail.

Workers are right now circulating a petition urging Maximus to give call center staffers the option to work coming from home or provide “emergency” given leave if they cannot. The Communications Workers of America job union, that is organizing Maximus staff, has flagged the safety considerations to the state Department regarding Labor.

“It is imperative that Maximus’ New York employees — who are working on the frontlines to help New Yorkers access health coverage in this time of crisis — not be required to put themselves and their families in harm’s way to perform their duties,” said Dennis Trainor, vice president of CWA District 1.

The issue comes as New York shoves a “special enrollment period” to help laid-off workers find affordable health proper care through its “State of Health” marketplace. While enrollment for public plans, these as Medicaid, is open yearly, the usual window for personal policies lasts just a couple of months and ended on Feb. 7 this current year.

The LOS ANGELES Health Department, defended Maximus with Friday, saying it has been recently working with the contractor to go more than half the labor force to their homes.

“We remain in close contact with our partners managing the increased volume of calls during this important special enrollment period and are working closely with them to ensure that the health and safety of their workforce is a top priority,” the department said in a good statement.


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