Los Alamos National Laboratory has announced its first COVID-19 case among its workforce. Photo Courtesy LANL
BY MAIRE O’NEILL
Los Alamos National Laboratory Director Thom Mason announced to employees by email the first positive case of COVID-19 among the Lab workforce.
“The individual is a subcontractor who was last on Laboratory property April 8, 2020. This brings the number of cases in and around the Laboratory to three. This is the first reported case at a Laboratory facility. The other two previously-reported cases were in N3B facilities. We send our best wishes and hopes to all for a speedy recovery,” the email states.
N3B is the legacy waste cleanup contractor to the Department of Energy Environmental Management Office .
Mason’s email states that the Department of Health is tracing the employee’s contacts and reaching out with instructions to anyone who may have been exposed.
“On site, we are following established procedures to clean areas where the employee has been in the last two weeks,” Mason said.
In consultation with the Lab’s Pandemic Team and Emergency Operations Center, LANL has been following the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention guidelines to expand cleaning protocols and currently more than 80 percent of the workforce is teleworking to enable social distancing, the email indicates.
“These actions have helped slow the transmission rate in New Mexico, but ultimately we cannot avoid all risk. Everyday activities such as buying groceries, pumping gas, or picking up a prescription could result in transmission. We anticipate further cases at the Laboratory,” Mason said.
Mason concluded by saying these are challenging times for all.
“I send my best wishes for you to remain healthy and my sincere thanks for your patience, flexibility and courage in the face of this pandemic,” he said.
The first COVID-19 case linked to the Lab was announced March 30 by both LANL and N3B to their employees. N3B reportedly announced the second confirmed case to their employees but no announcement was made by LANL on that case.