RICHLAND, Wash. - Over the past year the Hanford Site has seen over 650 employees test positive for Covid-19 cases, and 7 on-site outbreaks.
The Benton Franklin Health District says the cases are being linked to at least 13 different contractors, while others are being labeled as simply "Hanford workers."
As of January 11th there is only one active outbreak, and at least 16 new cases under investigation.
However, according to contact tracing efforts by Hanford and the Health District the number of positive cases are coming from both onsite employees, and off-site Hanford employees who are working from home.
"What is going on at Hanford is going on throughout the community because these are community derived cases. Our (community) case count is rising, we were doing a good job plateauing and um, but, what is happening out there (at Hanford) is happening in the rest of the community. They are not a specific entity that needs any more red flags than any other entities throughout our community," said Carla Prock, Senior Manger for the Benton Franklin Health District.
A representative for the Hanford Site tells NBC Right Now worker safety is a top priority and says the site has been proactive, taking all precautions to prevent the spread of the Covid-19, however, linking the transmission of the virus has been a challenge.
"It’s really difficult to determine where people are getting the disease. Our follow up on each case out at Hanford indicates, because the disease is so prevalent in our surrounding communities its difficult to determine where they (employees) got the Covid from. What we can say with certainty is that we continue using our very robust safety measures like social distancing, face coverings, and contact tracing, that have been largely successful in preventing the spread of the disease on the Hanford site," said Geoff Tyree, U.S Department of Energy External Engagement for the Hanford Site.
According to Tyree the Hanford Site currently employs approximately 11,000 workers "with approximately 6,500 of those working on the site under COVID safety measures and the rest teleworking (most since the pandemic began)."