Twenty-five Federal Emergency Management Agency employees have been diagnosed with the coronavirus, including at least one from the organization’s main response center, according to a report.
A source close to the agency’s COVID-19 response effort who spoke on condition of anonymity told NBC News Tuesday that people are “dropping like flies” due to the illness.
Some employees at FEMA’s National Response Coordinating Center inside the agency’s Washington headquarters have been quarantined because at least one worker there has tested positive, two sources close to the matter told NBC News.
A FEMA spokesperson declined to say how many response center workers have tested positive for the coronavirus, but confirmed that 25 agency employees had been diagnosed with COVID-19 as of Tuesday.
The response center can still be used despite positive tests because the space is cleaning regularly, NBC News reports.
“The health and safety of the workforce, including our interagency partners and members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, is a top priority for the Federal Management Agency as we continue to lead the federal operations in response to the pandemic,” a FEMA spokesperson told NBC News. “Like many large employers, FEMA has employees who have tested positive.”
But personal protective equipment like masks and gloves are still optional during the crisis, three sources close to the matter told NBC News.
A FEMA spokesperson would not discuss details of the agency’s personal protective equipment policy, saying only that “every precaution recommended” by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was being taken to protect workers.
A message seeking additional comment from FEMA was not immediately returned early Wednesday.