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Palm Coast Tuesday, Sep. 11, 2018 2 weeks ago

CDC experts visit Sheriff's Operations Center, plan report

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The five-member CDC team spoke with 32 Sheriff's Office employees.
by: Jonathan Simmons News Editor

Five experts from the Centers for Disease Control's National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health visited the Flagler County Sheriff's Operations Center late last week, speaking with employees and inspecting the building.

Employees have been evacuated from the Operations Center since June after many reported symptoms they believe were caused by the building, which was constructed in 2015 on the site of the former Memorial Hospital building.

The CDC NIOSH team is the latest of a series of experts brought in to investigate. The team told Sheriff Rick Staly that they might be able to provide an interim letter within a couple of weeks and then a final report at some time in the future, Staly said.  

"Other than that, they were very tight-lipped and didn't indicate any findings at all," Staly said. "But I felt that they were very thorough and very qualified."

The county government, which owns the Operations Center, had previous hired experts to test the building after an initial test revealed mold. Tests after mold remediation measures came back clean, but employees continued reporting symptoms and expressed distrust of the county-hired experts' findings.

Staly said the NIOSH team interviewed 32 employees in private meetings, and also checked the building — looking above ceiling tiles, on the roof, and walking around the exterior.

"While I was there, they were asking questions about, 'OK, where exactly were people sitting that were reporting illnesses,' so we were explaining that to them," Staly said.

The team also met with County Commissioner Nate McLaughlin and with Robert Sweeney, an expert Staly had hired to evaluate the findings of the county's experts and who'd suggested that the building still has a mold problem.

"I think they did a very thorough research visit," Staly said. "I think it's a good step forward. We'll just have to wait and see what the report shows." 

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