There are now three confirmed cases of COVID-19 at the Energy Department’s Hanford Site in Washington state, the latest involving an employee of cleanup contractor CH2M HILL Plateau Remediation, according to an online bulletin.
The individual, whose last day at work was April 14, recently received a positive diagnosis for novel coronavirus 2019, CH2M HILL Plateau Remediation President and CEO Ty Blackford said in the May 1 message to employees. The facility where the person worked, which was not identified in the document, has been cleaned in keeping with guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
A company spokesperson declined to provide further details.
Individual cases of COVID-19 at Hanford were previously reported by radioactive tank waste contractor Washington River Protection Solutions and site services provider Mission Support Alliance.
The DOE Office of Environmental Management’s largest and most complex cleanup site, Hanford has been limited to essential-mission critical operations since March 24. During normal times roughly 11,000 federal and contractor employees work at the former plutonium manufacturing complex. Sources indicate only about 20% are currently inside the fence, with the rest either working from home or on paid leave.
While the Energy Department is drafting plans for an incremental return to more normal staffing levels at Hanford and the 15 other sites overseen by Environmental Management, no timelines have been disclosed.
The latest Hanford case brings the total number of COVID-19 infections reported at DOE nuclear cleanup sites to 21.