“Almost every bureau of the Interior Department’s vast agency ― 70,000 employees across 2,400 nationwide offices ― has had at least one employee test positive for the virus. The Interior Department has kept these numbers private, while leaving most public parks and refuges open to the public even as public lands experts warn it could put workers and visitors at risk.
“The attitude is, ‘We’re going to keep business as usual for as long as possible. The less information we disclose, the better,’” Jeff Ruch, Pacific director of the Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, said of Interior’s communications strategy. “It’s like, why break your backs to collect it?”
Ruch said the main question now facing Interior is what it will do once statewide stay at home orders are lifted, which he argues is why positive COVID-19 cases aren’t being shared publicly.”