Contractor in isolated portion at DFAS tests positive for COVID-19, union official says

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A contractor who was working on-site at the Rome Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) facility at Griffiss park has tested positive for COVID-19/novel coronavirus, a DFAS union official said today.

The contractor was working on an HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) renovation in a building portion that already had been sealed off from the rest of the facility while work was being done, said Rome DFAS union local President Edward Abounader.

That area is "not a part of where the workforce is" at the site, said Abounader, who also is president of the American Federation of Government Employees/DFAS National Council. There are 61 employees currently working in the building, he said, noting the majority of the approximately 960-person DFAS staff already was working from home under telework arrangements.

DFAS employees received an email notification at the end of last week from management regarding the coronavirus case, Abounader said. The situation should have "minimal impact, if any, on the limited workforce" on-site for DFAS, he said, adding the contractor had been in an area already sealed off for "a number of months" and "not actively used by employees."

Abounader had no immediate information regarding whether the renovation project would be put on hold, or whether the DFAS working area would be affected. He noted "at this point...61 still working on-site," adding they have been doing so either because they had chosen to or did not have adequate online connectivity to work at home. DFAS has a "flexible telework policy," and those employees could opt to begin working at home, he added.

DFAS management representatives could not immediately be reached for comment.

An accounting arm of the U.S. Department of Defense, DFAS in addition to Rome has other major sites in Ohio, Indiana and Maine. Much of the Rome DFAS work has involved processing Army financial accounts such as payroll, vendor payments, and travel.

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