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'It's A Wake-Up Call' | City Sanitation Worker Contracts Coronavirus Even After Taking Every Precaution

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Dozens of Baltimore city employees are off the streets fighting COVID-19.

One DPW employee spoke to WJZ's Paul Gessler about his symptoms and his message to the public. WJZ had interviewed sanitation worker Maurice Harried just one week before he tested positive.

He told us he doesn't know how he contracted coronavirus.

Almost three weeks ago, Harried was on his trash route in south Baltimore when WJZ interviewed him.

Sanitation Workers Considered Essential And Busy With Rise In Residential Trash

"Hoping we go home healthy, you know, don't carry anything home to our families," he told WJZ at the time.

Harried spoke with us from his couch Monday as he recovered from COVID-19.

"I thank God for my health. I'm glad I didn't bring anything home to my wife and my kid," he said.

Maurice started feeling symptoms a couple of days after our interview. He tested positive a week later with chills, body aches and a feeling he'd been hit in the ribs.

"Along with my chest and it was like something I'd never experienced before, and I went on with that for like 10 days," Harried said.

The two other guys on his crew quarantined, and so did the WJZ crew as soon as his family member said something.

Even with masks on, they were briefly within six feet to place a GoPro and microphone. Harried said he took all the precautions.


"What we do on a daily basis, wearing gloves, masks, hand sanitizer, and things like that," Harried said.

He's among several Baltimore city employees with the virus. As of Monday afternoon, city officials say 35 members of the police department tested positive; of them, 25 have returned to work.

All 14 city firefighters who tested positive are now back. Harried said he hopes others will listen to warnings to stay home and distance.

"Stay your distance. Wear your mask," he said. " When it hit me, it hit home and it let me know it's a wake-up call. If it happened to me, it could happen to anyone."

Overall, Maurice's case was fairly mild.

He said he's just about back to 100 percent and a doctor has cleared him to return to work. Harried thinks he'll wait it out a few more days.

For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department's website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ's coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.

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