The outbreak began in the IT department, according to Manatee County Administrator Scott Hopes, who is also an epidemiologist. Another person who worked on the same floor but in a different department also tested positive for coronavirus last week.
The only exposed employee in the IT office who was vaccinated was not infected, Hopes said.
“The clinical presentation gives me concern that we are dealing with a highly contagious variant that is quite deadly,” Hopes told Burnett.
Hopes said he encourages non-vaccinated workers to wear a mask, and the county makes them available to staff and visitors.
“Masks clearly work, but the vaccine is more important at this point,” Hopes said.
Manatee County will offer a Covid-19 vaccine clinic to employees in the administration building Friday.