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Jennifer Mahadeo

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Newsday staffers are mourning the death of their colleague, Jennifer Mahadeo, who succumbed to COVID-19, three days after her father also died from the virus.

But even as they mourned Mahadeo’s passing, some of her colleagues from the El Socorro office say are worried about their safety.

Mahadeo, 41, of Chaguanas, died yesterday morning after complaining of breathing problems.

Her father Deonarine Mahadeo, 76, also died from COVID-19, last week Tuesday.

Speaking to Guardian Media, a Newsday staffer told Guardian Media that Mahadeo had reported for work last week Thursday, even though she had complained of feeling ill the day before.

“She was coughing and sneezing. She was in the supervisor’s office. She used the washroom. This building has about 20 people and we are now worried that many more people may have contracted the virus,” the worker said.

She added, “Since we heard of her father’s diagnosis, management has been very quiet about the whole thing. Up to now, they are remaining quiet. I am fearful for my health. I have been in contact with people who were in contact with her.”

She explained that it was only yesterday that staff members were informed that Mahadeo’s father had tested positive for COVID-19 and had died. Mahadeo was not seen in the office again.

Yesterday, her colleagues got the shocking news that she had passed.

Guardian Media spoke to a senior manager at Newsday who denied that Mahadeo had reported to work even though she was ill.

The manager said all workers entering the building are subjected to COVID-19 protocols such as temperature checks.

He said signs are placed on the walls advising employees to stay home if they feel unwell. The manager also said walkabouts are done throughout the day to monitor staff while there is also video surveillance.

“If she was here coughing and sneezing, we would have seen this. She was not at work sick,” the manager said.

Another manager, who has worked closely with Mahadeo, told Guardian Media that her death was a blow to the company, in particular the Advertising Department where she worked.

“She was a completely beautiful soul, a bubbly personality, extremely hard working and a willing spirit. She made working easy, effortless. I considered her my friend,” the manager said.

She revealed that Mahadeo started working in the company’s Traffic Department and ended up being Page Planner but she was so much more than that. She would do whatever she was called on to do. Because of her years of service, she was able to function in every part of the Advertising Department.

“She was the one we would lean on for processes to work out how to do things best because of her experience,” the manager said.

Recalling her last conversation with Mahadeo, the manager added: “I spoke to her last Wednesday, she couldn’t speak. She was wheezing, but she spoke via WhatsApp. I don’t think I’m willing to share what we spoke about.

She also denied that Mahadeo was coughing and sneezing when she came to work.

“The last time I saw her was last week Tuesday. She called in sick (last week ) Wednesday because she had a headache but the next day she was out to work, not because she was asked to come in,” the manager added.

Asked whether Mahadeo had to get a Fit to Work to return to work, the manager said no.

She said this was needed only if there was certified medical leave involved.

Newsday spoke to Mahadeo’s nephew Jonathan Mahadeo on Friday who said she developed breathing difficulties on Sunday and was taken to the Chaguanas Health Centre, where she was given medication and told to return home. She was later taken to a private doctor but on Thursday night her condition worsened and she subsequently died.