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story.lead_photo.caption An Imo's Pizza employee returns to the entry floor after making a delivery in the Harry S Truman State Office Building in Jefferson City on Monday, Sept. 14, 2020. Photo by Julie Smith / News Tribune.

The News Tribune is offering this article free to all readers because it includes information that is important to the health and safety of our community.

A "small cluster of cases" of COVID-19 in offices at the Harry S Truman State Office Building in Jefferson City has prompted employee testing and the temporary closure of the affected area within the building, according to the state's Office of Administration.

OA announced Sunday in a news release the case cluster was identified Friday in office suites "that are grouped together" at the Truman Building. Further details about the location in the building were not included.

The department implemented a box-in containment strategy recommended by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services and DHSS Director Dr. Randall Williams.

DHSS and the State Emergency Management Agency on Friday afternoon began testing employees who work in the area of the case cluster. Of more than 100 people tested, 12 people were positive for the coronavirus — most not showing any symptoms, either because of being asymptomatic or presymtompatic.

As a precaution, SEMA was to continue testing people who work in the area Monday.

OA noted the affected area would be temporarily closed to the public and has been cleaned.

Contact tracing for each individual case is done by the local county health department. Employees and members of the public will be contacted if they are determined to be "an exposed contact with any of the individuals who have tested positive. At this time, no employees were in direct contact with the general public," according to OA.

Williams said in Sunday's news release: "Working with the Cole County Health Department, information at this time does not indicate any evidence of increased risk of infection to the public interfacing with employees at the Truman Building, and we will continue to test other employees and provide updates from our contact tracing and testing."

Personnel from SEMA and the state's Disaster Medical Team were also to screen all people entering the building Monday, offering temperature checks and masks.

"We recommend that employees and the public wear masks if they have business in the Truman Building," according to OA.

About one-third of employees at the Truman Building continue to work remotely, OA noted.

"Those who work in the Truman Building continue to practice social distancing, frequent hand-washing, use of hand sanitizer and frequent cleaning of work spaces," the department added.

As of Friday afternoon, OA spokesman Chris Moreland said, 1,141 state workers had tested positive for COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, with 350 state employees in quarantine at the time.

Most of the positive cases among the state workforce since March have been in the departments of Corrections, Mental Health and Social Services. Moreland reported there had been 399 cases in Corrections, 291 in Mental Health and 134 in Social Services.

There had been 98 cases among employees of the Department of Public Safety; 48 among Department of Transportation employees; and approximately 20-30 cases at each of the departments of Conservation, Elementary and Secondary Education, Health and Senior Services, Natural Resources, Revenue, and OA.

The departments of Agriculture, Commerce and Insurance, Economic Development, Higher Education and Workforce Development, and Labor and Industrial Relations had each reported 10 or fewer cases.

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