A Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative employee has tested positive for COVID-19 after experiencing symptoms shortly after they last reported to work, the electric company confirmed Wednesday.
The employee had begun experiencing symptoms after last reporting to work on March 23, according to SMECO spokesperson Tom Dennison, who said the employee was tested for COVID-19 two days later, and has been self-isolating.
Dennison said the electric company is “aggressively” sanitizing all work spaces, and instituted telework for many employees beginning the week of March 16.
“We have prevented [employees who work in the field] from working in the office,” Dennison said, and workers are taking their work trucks home with them and are meeting their helpers in the field to prevent office congregations.
“Our main concern is the health and safety of our employees, and we are doing our best to keep us safe in these very difficult times while also balancing our essential roles in keeping the lights on,” Dennison said.
Dennison could not confirm whether the employee had contact with non-employees while on the job.
“Our public health investigation starts as soon as possible when we are notified of a positive case,” Jenna Guzman, a spokesperson for the county health department said in an email on Wednesday, noting investigations tally any potential exposures through person-to-person contact. “Our ability to do this is based on the person’s recall of their whereabouts on specific days.”
The health department reported 30 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in St. Mary’s County as of Thursday morning; there are more than 2,300 cases in Maryland.
“General risk to the community in public spaces is evident” no matter the employee, Guzman said.