There was only one case of COVID-19 at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in the last two weeks as infections at the nuclear waste repository appeared to decline.
The latest report published by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Carlsbad Field Office showed no new cases between May 26 and June 1.
The previous report showed one case of COVID-19 was reported between May 19 and 25.
Records show last week’s report marked the 11th in a row where WIPP’s COVID-19 caseload was at zero or in the singled digits.
“WIPP’s positive cases continue to remain in the single digits or at zero,” the report read. “The Department of Energy and Nuclear Waste Partnership continue to work with all employees to ensure Department of Health and (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) guidelines are followed.”
WIPP’s decline in COVID-19 numbers appeared to follow a downward trend statewide and in the southeast region of New Mexico where the facility is located near the Eddy-Lea county line.
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On Friday, the New Mexico Department of Health’s latest report showed one new case in Eddy County for a total of 6,883 infections and none in Lea County which maintained its total caseload of 8,368.
Bernalillo County led the state with 43 new cases of COVID-19 at a total of 58,593, followed by Dona Ana County’s 23 new cases and total of 24,917.
On June 2, all 33 counties in New Mexico shifted to the “turquoise” risk level, the lowest, as numbers declined across the state and vaccinations increased.
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The State announced that when counties achieve a turquoise level by meeting two of three requirements – a daily case rate of 10 or less cases per 100,000 people, infection rate of less than 7.5 percent of a vaccination rate at or above 50 percent – they would stay in the category until the color system is phased out.
New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said the tiered system would be lifted when the state achieves a total vaccination rate of 60 percent.
She encouraged New Mexicans to continued getting the vaccine.
“New Mexicans are making the right choices: Getting vaccinated so we can all safely resume our lives and so our small businesses and economy can roar back to life,” Lujan Grisahm said. “Please encourage your friends and family to register if they haven’t already — and keep up the hard work as, all together, we push toward ending the worst of the pandemic.”
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Past COVID-19 cases at WIPP
- May 6 to 13 – Two employees reported COVID-19 infections
- April 29 to May 6 – One infection reported
- April 16 – Two infections reported
- April 9 – One WIPP employee reported a positive COVID-19 case
- April 2 – Three WIPP workers reported COVID-19 infections
- March 26 – Three employees reported positive COVID-19 cases
- March 18 to 24 – One employee tested positive for the virus
- March 11 to 17 – Two workers were reported infected.
- March 4 to March 10 – One worker reported being infected with the virus.
- Feb. 25 to March 3 – One worker was reported infected, last at the site on Feb. 23.
- Feb. 18 to 24 – Two workers were infected, last at the site between Feb. 16 and 24.
- Feb. 11 to 17 – Two workers reported positive test results, last at the site between Feb. 4 and 8.
- Feb. 4 to 10 – Three WIPP were reported infected, last at the site from Jan. 27 to Feb. 8.
- Jan. 28 to Feb. 3 – Six WIPP workers were reported infected, last at the site from Jan. 18 to 28.
- Jan. 20 to 27 – Six workers with NWP were reportedly infected, last at the site from Jan. 11 to 20.
- Jan. 13 to 19 – 14 workers reported positive, last at the site between Dec. 3 and Jan. 17.
- Jan. 6 to 12 – 25 workers tested positive: 23 from NWP, one subcontractor and one from the CBFO, last at the site between March 24 and Jan. 6.
- Dec. 29 to Jan. 5 – 15 cases: 10 NWP, three subcontractors, one at CBFO and one at a CBFO subcontractor, last at the site between March 24 and Dec. 28.
- Dec. 22 and 28 – Six positives reported, all NWP employees last at site between Dec. 3 and 18.
- Dec. 16 to 21 – Nine positives reported, seven NWP employees and two from subcontractors, last at the site between Dec. 9 and Dec. 16.
- Dec. 9 to 15 – Seven positives report, six at NWP and one subcontractor last at the site between Nov. 24 and Dec. 9.
- Dec. 2 to Dec. 8 – 16 cases reported, 12 NWP, three subcontractor employees and one from the CBFO.
- Nov. 24 to Dec. 1 – Eight cases reported, seven from NWP and one subcontractor last at the site March 24 to Nov. 23.
- Nov. 18 to 23 – 13 positive cases reported, nine NWP, three subcontractor, one CBFO last at the site Oct. 26 to Nov. 19.
- Nov. 11 to Nov. 17 – 20 cases reported, 15 NWP, four subcontractor and one from CBFO, last at the site from March 24 to Nov. 12.
- Nov. 4 to Nov. 10 – 20 cases reported, 11 NWP, six subcontractor and four CBFO employees last at the site between March 24 and Nov. 8.
- Oct. 27 to Nov. 28 – Four positives reported, last at site Oct. 8 and 26.
- Oct. 18 to 26 – 17 cases reported, last at the site Oct. 3 and 23.
- Oct. 8 to 17 – 18 cases reported, last at site Sept. 17 and Oct. 14.
- Sept. 30 to Oct. 7 – Six positives reported. Three last at site Oct. 1 and others Sept. 20 to 30.
- Sept. 23 to 29 – Two positives reported, one was last at site on Sept. 16 and other not since July.
- Sept. 16 to 22 – One positive reported, last at site Sept. 16.
- Sept. 10 to 15 – Two positives. One last at site Sept. 2 and other on extended leave.
- Sept. 5 to 9 – Two positives. One NWP and one subcontractor last at site between Aug. 20 and Sept. 2.
- Sept. 2 to 3 – Four NWP employees tested positive, last at the site from Aug. 16 to 27.
- Aug. 3 to 27 – 15 NWP employees tested positive, and one worker at Regulatory Environmental Services, last at the site July 30 to Aug. 30.
- July 21 – One NWP employee tested positive, last at the site July 7
- July 9 – One CAST Specialty Trucking employee who worked at trucking terminal in Carlsbad where WIPP trucks transit tested positive.
- June 19 – One NWP employee tested positive, teleworking since March.
Adrian Hedden can be reached at 575-618-7631, [email protected] or @AdrianHedden on Twitter.