State agency reports positive COVID case

The Department of Homeland Security confirmed Tuesday that an employee of the Intelligence Fusion Center tested positive for COVID-19 after reporting to work June 22.

CHARLESTON — A state agency tasked with monitoring threats reported a threat of its own Tuesday after an employee tested positive last week for the coronavirus.

The Department of Homeland Security confirmed Tuesday that an employee of the Intelligence Fusion Center tested positive after reporting to work June 22.

According to Homeland Security spokesperson Lawrence Messina, the employee reported for work last Monday after attending an in-state wedding the weekend prior. The employee, who was off work on June 23, learned a wedding attendee tested positive for the coronavirus.

The employee was tested and the result was positive.

Messina said the Fusion Center, located in the TransCanada Building in Charleston, was cleaned and sanitized by the National Guard on Friday. All staff working last week were tested. Other tenants of the building were given notice.

“The office was immediately closed, and the building notified,” Messina said. “Everyone in the office both days was tested, including visitors. All tests came back negative.”

The employee is in self-quarantine and is asymptomatic, Messina said. Staff of the Fusion Center are working from home for the remainder of the week.

“The Fusion Center will continue to operate remotely, as it had earlier in the pandemic, through this week,” Messina said. “The positive employee is showing no symptoms and is in good condition.”

The Fusion Center allows local, state and federal law enforcement and public safety agencies to share resources, expertise and information. The agency prevents, detects, investigates and responds to all hazards, including terrorist and criminal activity. According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, fusion centers can receive classified and non-classified information from federal agencies, analyze information to create risk assessments, distribute information to other law enforcement agencies and gather locally generated information.

The Fusion Center’s functions were set by executive order of former Gov. Joe Manchin in 2008, along with other executive orders over the years. A bill passed during the 2020 legislative session – House Bill 4176 – officially codified the Fusion Center for the first time. The bill also provided civil liberties protections and legislative oversight for the agency’s actions.

Steven Allen Adams can be reached at sadams@newsandsentinel.com


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