Aug 6, 2021 - Health

Interior Department says over 30 staffers have died from COVID-19

Picture of deb Haaland

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland. Photo: Jemal Countess/Getty Images for Native Organizers Alliance

The Interior Department on Friday said that more than 30 staff members have died from the coronavirus.

By the numbers: Melissa Schwartz, Interior communications director, said that more than 4,000 staffers have reported contracting the disease.

  • In a video released Wednesday, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said that 34 staffers have died. But Schwartz clarified that the video was taken earlier in the week and that since then, one more person has passed.

What they're saying: "Though many people are vaccinated, our country still faces increased rates of COVID-19 infections and more aggressive variants," Haaland said.

  • Haaland added that the Interior Department will follow the mask guidelines set by the CDC.
  • "Each state and community faces different threats, so if you are in an area with substantial to high COVID transmission rates, everyone — employees, contractors and visitors — must wear a mask in all federal buildings no matter your vaccination status."
  • The secretary pledged to continue providing updates on vaccination guidance.

What’s next: The Interior Department is working to establish a process for employees and contractors to confirm their vaccination status.

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