Coronavirus case linked to EPA office in Helena

Posted at 11:00 AM, Mar 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-20 13:05:12-04

HELENA — Reports have linked one of the presumed positive cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Montana to the Environmental Protection Agency’s office in Helena.

The national outlet “The Hill” reported on Wednesday that an employee at the regional office had tested presumed positive for COVID-19, and that the agency was asking other employees on the same floor to stay home.

The EPA office is located in the Sen. Max Sieben Baucus Federal Building, on West 15th Street. MTN News contacted the EPA, asking them to confirm whether any cases had been reported at the office.

A spokesperson responded Thursday, saying, “to date, the agency has been notified of one employee who is presumed positive, awaiting CDC confirmation.”

“The health and safety of our employees is our top priority and that is why we have encouraged all EPA employees to telework,” the spokesperson said. “EPA is taking swift action in the event someone becomes symptomatic or has potentially been exposed to the coronavirus.

The agency said they are encouraging employees to practice good hygiene and social distancing and to stay home if they are sick. They said they are notifying those who may have been in contact with potentially infected employees.

The EPA also said they are following guidelines from the federal General Services Administration on disinfecting workspaces and common areas if someone may be infected.