Coronavirus in Reston

Precautions against possible exposure taken at the U.S. Geological Survey JW Powell Building.

On Wednesday, March 18, at 7:58 p.m., Fairfax County announced two new presumptive positive cases of coronavirus in the Fairfax Health District, which includes Fairfax County, City of Fairfax, City of Falls Church and towns within the county.

Karen Armstrong is the Acting Public Affairs Officer for the Office of Communications and Publishing U.S. Geological Survey. In an email Wednesday evening, Armstrong said, "Yesterday (March 17), we were made aware of two cases at the USGS JW Powell Building in Reston, Virginia related to the coronavirus. One is a person with a now-confirmed case of COVID-19 infection who visited the building on Thursday, March 12 and worked with occupants in shared space on the 2nd floor for several hours. The other is a building occupant in the 5th floor B area who is presumptive positive, has been tested, and is currently self-isolating and waiting for results," she said.

According to Armstrong, following "the most up to date guidance" by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, they assessed the risk to employees in consultation with the Department of the Interior's Office of Occupational Safety & Health. They determined that the risk of exposure to employees who did not have direct contact with the affected individuals was low.

"However, we have taken additional steps to ensure the health of employees and have cleaned and disinfected the affected areas following CDC guidelines. While the building remains open, optional telework was put in place effective March 16 per OMB guidelines. We continue to coordinate with the DOI Office of Emergency Management (OEM) and follow CDC guidance as we take precautions against any possible exposure," said Armstrong.

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