As many as 20 per cent of Conwy’s rubbish and recycling teams have been absent in recent weeks due to the rapid spread of the omicron variant.
At a cabinet meeting, councillors heard how the recycling teams at Conwy County Council had been decimated by COVID.
Llandudno councillor Cllr Greg Robbins is the cabinet member for environment and transportation and updated councillors on the challenging situation.
Cllr Robbins said the rubbish and collection service had mostly been maintained, despite high levels of absences during the post-Christmas rush, adding staff had gone above and beyond to ensure rounds were completed.
“The waste service is the one in my portfolio that has probably been hit the hardest,” said Cllr Robbins.
“At one point, we were just short of 20 per cent absences due to COVID and self-isolating.
“That has now dropped down to 14 per cent. Despite this, because of the very hard work of the front-line staff, the supervisors and managers, who have all been going out on rounds and doing jobs they wouldn’t normally do, they’ve managed to keep the service running at normal speed.
“There has been the odd collection missed because of people not being used to certain rounds, but hopefully they will get mopped up shortly.”
He added: “But all the main rounds for recycling and waste have been maintained.”
Cllr Cheryl Carlisle is the cabinet member for social care and reported a similar situation.
“Omicron and isolation are still causing a lot of staffing issues, both amongst our own staff and domiciliary care and care home providers,” she said.
“Hopefully this is going to improve now, fingers crossed, but it is worth noting things are still pretty poor in social care.”
Conwy’s leader Charlie McCoubrey said Omicron was posing challenges to Conwy’s workforce.
“What we do know is that Omicron is 70 per cent less detrimental to people’s health, but the biggest concern to us is the impact it has on our staff and our ability to remain working through illness or having to self-isolate,” he said.
Whilst COVID cases had reduced slightly in the county, to 2,274 per 100,000 from around 2,500 in the weeks prior, Conwy’s chief executive Iwan Davies warned that may be due to reduced levels of testing.