The revelation of a large group of confirmed COVID-19 cases at Fermi comes at the same time that Monroe County as a whole has experienced a severe spike in daily confirmed cases.

The recent safety stand down that postponed maintenance work at DTE's Fermi 2 nuclear power plant occurred due to an outbreak in positive COVID-19 tests among a work group at the facility, according to DTE spokesperson Stephen Tait.

The stand down was instituted May 1, at which point DTE began conducting large-scale testing of employees at the facility. Tait said that all Fermi employees and supplemental staff - a workforce of more than 2,000 individuals - was tested over a three-day span. The company is not releasing specific numbers in terms of positive tests, citing privacy concerns, but Tait said the total suggests some workers may have been asymptomatic carriers of the virus.

"... We did see positive cases, which is expected when you test any large population of people," Tait said. The testing is in line with our commitment to health and safety of people; those who test positive can now seek the health care they need and quarantine to prevent further spread. DTE, and the medical professionals assisting with the testing, are following all required protocols through the testing to see that the appropriate health personnel are notified."

Tait added that DTE has been providing ongoing communication to local officials regarding its coronavirus response actions. The company is conducting contact tracing for all employees who tested positive and intends to notify others who may have been near these employees and potentially exposed to the virus. They also are following up with those who have tested positive or are symptomatic and in quarantine.

The safety stand down temporarily suspended some of the maintenance work occurring during Fermi's ongoing refueling outage. As previously reported by The Monroe News, some of that work resumed Monday and continued through this week.

"Since the safety stand down, the Fermi facility has undergone deep cleaning and all procedures for work groups, and timing of shift rotations, have been re-examined and modified to offer further protections for employees who continue to work at the facility during the maintenance and refueling program," Tait said.

The revelation of a large group of confirmed COVID-19 cases at Fermi comes at the same time that Monroe County as a whole has experienced a severe spike in daily confirmed cases. The Monroe County Health Department reported 27 additional confirmed cases Wednesday, tying April 8 as the most confirmed cases in a single day since the first case within the county was reported on March 14.

The health department reported another 18 newly confirmed cases Thursday and 12 more Friday.

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