Updated April 6, 2020 - 7:08 pm
A third worker at the Resorts World Las Vegas project has tested positive for COVID-19, the developer confirmed Monday, saying construction is expected to continue amid policies that seek to “minimize the risk of transmission.”
Project management learned of the most recent case of the respiratory disease caused by the new coronavirus Wednesday, after being notified last month of the first two cases, according to a representative for the $4.3 billion hotel-casino development.
Various sections of the north Strip project site, including the area where the worker was assigned as well as stairwells, turnstiles and other common areas, will be “periodically shut down and routinely sanitized to ensure the entire job site remains safe for workers,” the statement said.
Nevada is one of many states to allow construction during the coronavirus pandemic while casinos and other “nonessential” businesses were ordered closed to help contain its spread. Public health experts have said construction sites can be operated safely amid the outbreak if extra precautions are taken.
Jeanne Stellman, professor emerita of health policy and management at Columbia University, said she understands why construction has been allowed to continue around the U.S., given that many projects are essential.
But she added, “I don’t know how building a casino falls into that.”
State officials have released guidance saying Nevada job sites should ensure workers remain 6 feet apart, restrict meetings and gatherings to no more than 10 people and conduct daily surveys of workers’ health conditions.
The representative for Resorts World developer Genting Group said Monday that management has, among other things, required wellness screenings at the start of each shift for all workers, reduced crew size and installed additional handwashing stations throughout the site.
“The safety of the entire crew remains our top priority, and while we are committed to continuing with construction, we are doing everything we can to ensure prudent preventative policies and procedures are being followed across the job site and that workers are informed of new information and guidelines related to COVID-19 daily,” the representative said.
Tommy White, business manager and secretary treasurer of Laborers Local 872, confirmed Monday that one of the infected workers at Resorts World is a member of his union.
He said the laborer started feeling sick on his first and only day at the project and went to the emergency room for a fever.
He is now home with no symptoms, White said.
Frank Hawk, who chairs a group of Nevada contractors, union officials and trade association representatives that formed to address safety issues during the outbreak, said overall he is “pleasantly surprised at how contained this seems to be in the construction industry.”
Hawk, vice president of the Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters, said carpenters are putting in 750,000 man-hours of work per month in the Las Vegas area.
“We don’t have one reported case of a union carpenter – knock on wood,” he said.