Los Alamos National Laboratory

Los Alamos National Laboratory

Delivering science and technology to protect our nation and promote world stability

Latest Information on COVID-19

Regularly check this page for all the latest information.

Lab Employee Resources  

MEDICAL INFORMATION  

COVID-19 SCIENCE UPDATES  

COVID-19 NEWS COVERAGE  

The COVID-19 Outbreak: Delivering Science and Technology to Protect Our Nation

Posted: Thursday, April 2 7:01 a.m.

Los Alamos National Laboratory is drawing on its rich history in the biological sciences to actively engage in the national effort to study, understand, and answer important questions about the COVID-19 outbreak.

In the video below, Kirsten Taylor-McCabe, a biochemist and national defense and security program manager, and Nicolas Hengartner, group leader of the Theoretical Biology and Biophysics group at Los Alamos, discuss the Laboratory’s important contributions. Areas covered include disease detection and diagnostics, epidemic modeling, disease prediction and forecasting, decision support, data collection and integration, and medical countermeasures.

 


From Laboratory Director Thom Mason: COVID-19 Update, First case of coronavirus confirmed for N3B subcontractor

Posted: Monday, March 30 5:06 p.m.

Today we received confirmation of an N3B subcontractor testing positive for COVID-19. 

While this is not an employee of the Laboratory, we wanted to make sure you are aware of this development. The individual is in self-isolation and will remain at home until they fully recover and are released back to work through their appropriate medical provider.

The safety of our employees is our top priority. Currently there is no indication of LANL/Triad employees or facilities having contact with this employee.  The New Mexico Department of Health is reaching out to people who had direct contact with this individual and will provide appropriate instructions.

Any Laboratory concerned employee should contact the LANL COVID-19 Hotline at 606-2667.

Employees should check the LANL COVID-19 information page for additional information.

 


Pause in LANL summer student programs

Posted: Tuesday, March 24 7:43 a.m.

John Sarrao, Deputy Director, Science, Technology and Engineering, issued this announcement on Monday, March 23:

Effective immediately, we are pausing all summer student programs for 2020. Specifically, until this guidance is modified, we will no longer transition to regular from causal status, onboard, or hire additional students or student guests. For the purposes of reporting to work or teleworking, “year-round” students already working at the Laboratory are treated as other lab employees.

We are taking this step out of concern for the health and safety of our workforce and our current and future students, and driven by the extraordinary measures that are currently in effect due to the ongoing pandemic (social distancing, significant mentor teleworking, self-isolation requirements upon arrival in New Mexico and other steps).

Our summer students are a key element of our workforce and our future staff pipeline. We are actively exploring options to create safe and meaningful opportunities for our students including remote work, virtual summer schools, online lecture series and other possibilities. However, it seems likely that our student population during the summer of 2020 will be substantially curtailed.

While we recognize that this guidance is incomplete and subject to change as the situation evolves, we believe it is important to communicate the current pause to all concerned in order to hopefully reduce impacts on affected students who might be considering travel and housing plans for this summer.

We will update this guidance and the status of our summer student programs as developments warrant. We are also happy to address individual questions via email to: student_programs@lanl.gov

We fully understand that this action adds to the stress and uncertainty that many are feeling in this current crisis. We therefore ask for your patience and support as we all work through this challenging period.

 


Director Thom Mason Memo: Onsite Operations Further Curtailed to Minimum Safe and Secure and to Key National Security Activities

Posted: Monday, March 23 5:20 p.m.

Since the beginning of last week, the Laboratory has been changing its operational posture and on Friday we began to take additional steps to curtail operations. As a result, effective Tuesday March 24, we will be maintaining minimum safe and secure operations onsite, continuing to support limited, key national security activities that NNSA has deemed mission-essential, and requiring that all other staff telecommute. This will immediately and significantly further reduce the number of employees on Laboratory property and we will be monitoring our success in meeting that objective.

There will be a small segment of our workforce who must be onsite to conduct critical activities. These employees are working with their line managers to arrange appropriate schedules. If you are wondering whether your job falls into this category, please contact your manager.

Moving almost entirely to telework will greatly reduce opportunities for COVID-19 transmission amongst our workforce—the health and safety of which is our top priority. Some of you have not been sent home because the work you are performing is deemed mission-essential. We take your safety seriously; if we cannot reduce staffing in your location to a level that protects your health by social distancing, we will implement additional measures up to and including further curtailing work.

We know that some employees have concerns about what impact this might have on time charging and paychecks. Fortunately, most of you will be able to continue your important missions via telework. Employees who can no longer be onsite but are also not able to work from home can now use the COVID Leave charge code. If you are not clear on how to charge your time, discuss options with your manager.

All workers are encouraged to check email and the internal LANL website frequently for updates, remain in contact with your manager, read LANLToday each day, and check the COVID-19 Information Hub for the latest information. Selected information is also posted externally on LANL.gov. We will continue to keep you updated through this evolving situation. Your manager is here to help you and will address any specific questions you may have about your work arrangement.

I urge all LANL staff to take the Governor of New Mexico’s announcement today as seriously at home as when we are at the Laboratory. Businesses across the state will be suspending operations and gatherings are limited to five people or less. We must collectively act and operate in a manner which protects our health and that of our families and the broader communities. I know this is a stressful time but, working together, we will see it through. 


 LANL Director Thom Mason video to staff

Posted: Sunday, March 22 9:30 p.m.


 

Thom Mason memo to staff: Update on Laboratory changes

Posted: Friday, March 20

The continued spread of the coronavirus is forcing us to adapt to a quickly changing world, where the situation changes daily, basic supplies have disappeared off supermarket shelves, kids are home from school, college kids are back in the house, and  places we might normally go – restaurants, cafes, gyms – are closed.  I know that many of you are having to deal with the unwelcome consequences of lives disrupted whether it is caring for children now out of school or helping out family members who are sick or stranded.

Some of the guidance is crystal clear: keeping our distance from people and staying out of public places will help slow the rate of transmission and if you have symptoms, do not allow yourself to have any contact that would allow the spread of infection. As we all build social distancing into our daily routines, we are collectively taking the right actions for our communities (see how Social Distancing really helps). COVID-19’s spread in New Mexico has not progressed as far as other parts of the country and action now reduces the harm.  Social distancing is the main driver for the changes we have made at the Laboratory to-date with as many people as possible working from home and minimizing contact for those whose jobs can only be done on site.  We are reassessing our operating environment on a daily basis and taking additional steps to further reduce risk.

There are four recent changes at the Laboratory that I want to make you aware of:

  • Additional option for time charging: We have received formal approval for another time charging option for staff who are unable to work at the Lab or at home. This option is only available to those who cannot work at the Lab or from home. Telework is required whenever possible. Additional details on this will be posted on the internal LANL COVID-19 Hub once they are finalized.
  • Travel from outside of NM: If you are a returning traveler from outside of the state of New Mexico, you are now required to isolate at home for 14 days, regardless of whether you have symptoms or not. This same restriction applies to Laboratory guests or vendors arriving from outside of NM. If you show no symptoms after 14 days, you can come on Lab property after calling Occupational Medicine at 667-0660. If you have any flu-like symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, chills, body aches or sore throat), you are required to be on self-isolation until either an alternative diagnosis is provided (evidence of another infection such as influenza or rhinovirus), and/or a negative COVID-19 test is provided to Occupational Medicine. Return to the Lab must be coordinated through Occupational Medicine by calling the COVID-19 LANL Hotline at 606-2667.
  • Food service changes: Cafeterias are now offering take out services only. These include box lunches and sealed beverages (no hot foods, no coffee, no fountain drinks). No outside guests; LANL employees/official visitors only. Exceptions can be requested to the Pandemic Advisory Team on a case-by-case basis for satellite sites where employees do not have personal space where they can take their food for consumption.
  • Smaller in-person meetings: Face-to-face meetings must be limited to about 10 people, maintaining the safe social distance of about six feet between people. Technologies such as Zoom and Webex have become part of my new routine.

Periods of social and economic distress often breed innovation. I look forward to seeing the inventions and advances that help us rise to meet the challenges of COVID-19. There are many ways we can contribute to the effort to overcome this crisis in the near and long term. That is why I have named Pat Fitch, Associate Laboratory Director for Chemical, Earth, and Life Sciences, to lead a LANL Special Office for COVID-19 (SOC-19). The SOC-19 office will coordinate all requests for LANL scientific and technical capabilities to support COVID-19 response. Before joining Los Alamos, Pat was founding director of the National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center and has experience in the responses to prior pandemic responses such as SARS.

We will continue to keep you updated on this ever-changing situation. I appreciate the many questions and suggestions you have sent in. You can always send questions to me at: Directors-Dialogue@lanl.gov. The latest information is always posted internally on the LANL COVID-19 Hub. Selected information is also posted externally on LANL.gov.

If you have questions, call the LANL COVID-19 Hotline at 606-2667. After regular business hours, contact 24/7 EOSC at (505) 667-2400. 


Laboratory Status

Posted: Thursday, March 19

Los Alamos National Laboratory has stood up a Pandemic Advisory Team that is led by the Laboratory’s Medical Director and activated its Emergency Operations Center to very closely monitor the situation and coordinate with New Mexico health officials and emergency management agencies.  At this time, there are no confirmed cases at the Laboratory.

The Laboratory is committed to protecting the health of the people who work at the Laboratory and surrounding communities by taking measures to reduce the risk of disease transmission.  These measures include restricting international and domestic travel and implementing a liberal work from home policy – both of which promote social distancing and are consistent with guidance from the Center for Disease Control and the State of New Mexico.  

All of the Laboratory’s measures are closely aligned with the Department of Energy and the National Nuclear Security Administration. 


LANL Director Thom Mason video to staff

Posted: Tuesday, March 17


Thom Mason memo to staff: Telecommuting is the default; all travel restricted to Mission-essential

Posted: Monday, March 16

Over the weekend, our nation saw a heightened response and sense of urgency about the threat posed by the novel coronavirus, which the World Health Organization has declared a pandemic. New Mexico joined many other states in declaring a state of emergency and closing public schools. To carry out our mission while protecting our employees, families, and communities, the Laboratory must take more aggressive measures.

Telecommute Whenever Possible

  • As soon as possible, managers should make telecommuting the default for employees who can do so. By significantly decreasing the number of employees on site, we will enable more social distancing to reduce the likelihood of transmission in the workplace.
  • The telework hub on the internal website has instructions and tips for remote access, including logging on to LANL networks, forwarding calls to another phone, troubleshooting and cybersecurity, and instant messaging.

Limit Domestic, Out-Of-State Travel

  • Effective immediately, non-essential domestic travel is suspended. This is consistent with the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) recommendation to avoid out-of-state travel unless absolutely necessary. Domestic travel that is considered mission-essential must be approved by your ALD and the Laboratory Director.
  • As previously communicated, international travel is suspended and any mission-essential exceptions require approval by both the Laboratory Director and the NNSA Administrator.

Time-Charging Guidance

  • If you are working from home, charge your time to the project codes you would normally charge for that work scope. As usual, charge sick leave if you are unwell and vacation if you are taking vacation.
  • We realize that current circumstances may necessitate other absences (e.g. to look after children) and are working closely with the NNSA on solutions for some of these extraordinary situations. The COVID-19 information page on the internal website will have the most up-to-date charging guidance when it becomes available. 

Additional Resources

  • We encourage everyone to visit and follow the guidance provided by the New Mexico Department of Health and other national webpages such as CDC and State Department for the latest updates.
  • Refer to the COVID-19 information page for the Laboratory’s most recent news and guidelines, including NMDOH guidance on personal travel.

Making these changes to the way we do business will help us meet mission goals and do our part to stem the spread of COVID-19.

Our Emergency Operations Center and Pandemic Advisory Team are in constant communication with local and federal government officials. Please know that we are closely monitoring the situation and will keep you updated as the situation evolves. I sincerely hope that our employees, our families, and our communities can successfully limit the spread of this virus.