A South Carolina man has been accused of giving his employer a forged doctor’s note saying he tested positive for the novel coronavirus so he could take paid vacation.
Jeffrey Travis Long, 31, was arrested Thursday in Spartanburg County and charged with breaching the peace and forgery, according to Spartanburg County Sheriff Chuck Wright.
According to Fox Carolina, Long worked for the Sitel call center in Inman, and his claimed infection caused the office to she shut down for five days for disinfection.
The doctor’s note said Long had tested positive for COVID-19, the respiratory infection caused by the coronavirus, and would need at least two weeks off work. According to the note, Long would only be able to return to the job on March 27 assuming he first tested negative for the virus.
Wright condemned Long’s alleged actions at a Thursday press conference.
“It’s bad enough that everybody’s lives have been put in upheaval just trying to stay safe and get ahead of the curve here and get a grip on this coronavirus without having somebody causing basically massive panic,” he said.
The sheriff quipped that Wright was probably not spending his time off as he had planned.
“It seems to me that this fella just wanted a two week paid vacation but we’re going to give him a little time in the Hotel California,” he said.
The Sitel call center reported Wednesday, Fox Carolina reported. The company said in a statement that Long had been fired.
As of Sunday, South Carolina had 173 confirmed cases of COVID-19, three of which resulted in death, according to a New York Times database. Nearly 25,000 people have been diagnosed with the disease nationwide, and at least 340 patients have died.