UPDATE: Additionally, WWGP’s Margaret Murchison reports via Facebook that an employee at a local nursing home has tested positive for COVID-19. The name of the facility was not released.

ORIGINAL STORY: A Lee County government employee has tested positive for COVID-19, according to a press release from the Lee County Health Department.

The county employee, the first to test positive for Coronavirus, has been teleworking and has not visited any county office facility or been in direct physical contact with community members in an official capacity for more than a month, according to the release.

To date, the county health department has only shared age range and gender information about COVID patients. Tuesday was the first time an employer had been disclosed, and that decision came from County Manager John Crumpton, who said as an employer it was appropriate to share the news. The release did not say in which county department the patient works.

“The county goal is to be as open and transparent as we are legally allowed to be with information about the spread of COVID-19 in the community,” Crumpton said. “I do not want rumors about possible cases in county government to create additional anxiety in the community, and therefore, I felt it was important to notify employees and the public when I learned an employee had tested positive.   I want to reassure employees and the public that the county has been proactive in our approach to establish preemptive measures that will help prevent and slow the spread of COVID-19 in Lee County.  One such measure has been the expansion of an employee telework program that has likely helped minimize the risk of workplace exposure in this instance.”

The case is not a new one, and the number of patients in Lee County who have tested positive in Lee County remained at 205 as of Tuesday morning.

The county began implementing proactive and protective pandemic response measures on March 13.  They include but are not limited to the suspension of various programs, closing of several facilities, screening of visitors and employees for facilities that remain open, increased cleaning and disinfecting, distribution of PPE to staff that has direct contact with the public, and the expansion of telework opportunities for employees.