Two people are dead and four of their coworkers were hospitalized after a Covid-19 outbreak swept through a government building in Manatee County, Florida.
The outbreak began in the IT department, according to Manatee County Administrator Scott Hopes, who is also an epidemiologist. Another person who worked on the same floor but in a different department also tested positive for coronavirus last week.
Of the six people infected, five were hospitalized. One employee who was in the hospital died and another employee who was not hospitalized also died, Hopes told CNN’s Erin Burnett.
The only exposed employee in the IT office who was vaccinated did not get infected, Hopes said.
“The clinical presentation gives me concern that we’re dealing with a very infectious variant that is quite deadly,” Hopes told Burnett.
The government building was closed on Friday as a precaution. It reopened Monday but officials didn’t implement a mask requirement, instead keeping them optional.
Hopes said he’s encouraging workers who aren’t vaccinated to wear a mask and the county is making them available to employees and visitors.
“Clearly masks work, but the vaccine is more important at this point,” Hopes said.
Manatee County will offer a Covid-19 vaccine clinic for employees at the administration building on Friday.