Noticeably fewer new cases of COVID-19 were logged among the Savannah River Site's workforce this week, a likely reflection of an easing caseload across South Carolina in recent days.
Thirty-eight new instances of the disease caused by the novel coronavirus were confirmed as of Friday morning, a U.S. Department of Energy spokesperson said. Approximately 11,200 people work at the Savannah River Site, a sprawling Energy Department installation south of Aiken home to nuclear waste and nuclear weapons endeavors.
In weeks prior, 72 and 66 new infections, respectively, were reported among Savannah River Site workers.
These recent cases bring the cumulative tally at the site, in general terms, to 406. Of the 406, 308 people have recovered and been cleared to return to work, either in person or remotely.
More than 100,000 people in South Carolina have contracted the coronavirus since the pandemic began; at least 2,740 cases have been confirmed across Aiken, Barnwell and Allendale counties, places many Savannah River Site workers live. Roughly one-third of the SRS workforce lives in nearby Georgia, which to date has recorded more than 246,000 cases.
The Savannah River Site as of Friday morning remained in the first phase of its so-called return to normal operations, a gated process in which the site will exit its essential mission-critical posture, which months ago paused certain missions, like construction of Saltstone Disposal units, among other shakeups.
"As SRS proceeds with a measured approach to increase operations," an Energy Department spokesperson said earlier this year, "we will continue to monitor and assess local conditions and local restrictions and adjust the pace and scope of activities as necessary."