The Department of Energy (DOE) has received confirmation that this week no new Headquarters employees have tested positive for COVID-19. I am also happy to report that one of the remaining confirmed cases has now recovered.
We are continuing to maximize our telework posture, but are also planning for a return of federal employees and onsite support service contractors to our physical office space following the President’s guidelines for Opening Up America Again. Through a phased approach, which will be initiated when the time is right, we will minimize the risk of COVID-19 expansion and safeguard our most vulnerable people, while allowing individuals and the Department to begin a return to our workplace.
In the interim, we continue to encourage you to stay centered, positive, and safe. Remember to continue to closely follow the guidance of both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Office of Personnel Management (OPM), maximizing telework and practicing “social distancing.” Remember also to keep structure to your day, take needed breaks, eat a healthy diet, exercise, stay connected with your coworkers, friends and neighbors, and show acts of kindness to those in need.
In the event you become ill, the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHB) insurance carriers have certain responsibilities for treatment and coverage related to COVID-19. All FEHB carriers are required to provide COVID-19 coverage, waive cost-sharing (including deductibles, co-payments, and co-insurance), and waive prior authorization or other medical requirements for office visits, testing, diagnosis, as well as antibodies testing. You should contact your insurance directly with specific questions regarding your plan’s coverage. For general questions, please contact your local benefits servicing team. Notices to FEHB carriers can be found on OPM’s Healthcare Carriers page.
You may also want to consider discussing your concerns with a trained Employee Assistance Program (EAP) counselor to assist in relieving grief, loneliness, fear, and stress. Federal employees at DOE Headquarters can contact the Department’s EAP Specialist at (202) 586-4995. Federal employees outside of the DC area may contact Espȳr at (877) 801-5752 to speak to a counselor. DOE Federal employees may access the Espȳr website for additional resources.
With the coronavirus continuing to touch all aspects of our lives, your continued commitment to DOE’s mission and perseverance in delivering critical services to safeguard the nation’s national security are even more commendable. I appreciate all you are doing for our nation during these challenging times, and know we will get through them together. Be well and stay safe.
Secretary of Energy