At least 10 employees of Diablo Canyon Power Plant have become infected with COVID-19 since the pandemic began in March, according to a Pacific Gas & Electric spokeswoman Wednesday.
The cases include at least eight employees and two contractors who became infected with the coronavirus, said spokeswoman Suzanne Hosn, although she was not able to provide specific information on when infections occurred, or where, and how many recovered, citing health privacy laws.
A PG&E official on Wednesday confirmed there are active cases among employees but didn't specify whether they are among workers at the plant or employees who work from home.
San Luis Obispo County Public Health spokeswoman Michelle Shoresman declined to confirm active cases at the plant or how many employees have recovered, citing medical confidentiality policies.
She added that county officials don't identify the number of coronavirus infections at a particular business unless there is an "imminent public threat," which is defined by the county's public health director.
"There are implications for businesses and we're conscious of that," Shoresman explained.
The plant's ability to safety operate wasn't affected due to the infections, according to Hosn. Officials, however, have had to postpone or reschedule on-site projects to facilitate physical distancing, she said.
"Our focus is ensuring business continuity because people rely on their power more than ever," Hosn said. "The main thing we want our team to know that they are committed to health and safety."
Company officials have been tracking coronavirus data among employees and in the community since the pandemic's beginning.
PG&E activated an emergency operations center on Feb. 27 and an incident management team has been monitoring and responding to the coronavirus since the beginning of March, according to Hosn, who added the company has updated and implemented a pandemic response plan developed in 2008.
The company on March 13 enacted a remote work policy for employees who aren't needed at the plant, according to Hosn.
Guidelines for workers at the plant include requiring the use of face masks, enhanced cleaning practices, temperature checks and reducing the number of people in enclosed spaces, such as elevators.
Additionally, PG&E has implemented other procedures, such as cleaning search trays at security checkpoints and social media campaigns encouraging residents to maintain physical distancing from line workers and other on-site employees, Hosn said.
"When you are battling a thing this large, you have to put a full complement of protective measures in place," Hosn said.
Located near Avila Beach, Diablo Canyon is California's only nuclear power plant and contains two reactor units that generated more than 16,000 gigawatt-hours of power in 2019, producing energy for more than 3 million residents. The plant is slated to decommission its reactors in 2024 and 2025.
Concerned about COVID-19?
Sign up now to get the most recent coronavirus headlines and other important local and national news sent to your email inbox daily.