The agent reportedly interacted with someone who had later tested positive for COVID-19, the novel respiratory virus that started in China in late December and has spread to more than 100 countries, sickening more than 100,000 people worldwide, including 600 and counting in the United States so far.
“We recently became aware that last week someone in the office was very briefly in the vicinity of another person who has tested positive for the virus (they have no symptoms and the risk is extremely low),” Triplemint’s COO and co-founder Philip Lang wrote in an email sent to the more than 170 agents who work at the firm. The email was first published by the Real Deal.
After learning about the situation on Sunday, Triplemint ordered the office closed for a deep cleaning and sanitizing on Monday. The agent is not being required to take a COVID-19 test — which are currently in short supply all across the U.S. — but has been asked not to see any clients out of an “extreme abundance of caution.”
After the decision to close down the office was announced, agents were given a one-hour window to pick up any of their items in the office. All Tuesday meetings were also rescheduled to take place online.
The agent exposed to the virus had reportedly “briefly” spent time with the infected person at a real estate conference although Triplemint is not releasing more details about which one it was and when it occurred.
On Saturday of last week, New York declared a state of emergency after the number of coronavirus cases in the state approached 90. Employees all over the country are being asked to work from home as local and federal governments struggle to contain the spread of the virus. Those who work with people, in particular, are being asked to avoid shaking hands, standing too close to people and touching one’s face and nose after interactions.
Triplemint, meanwhile, said that the risk for the agent’s infection is low but wants to develop a standard for how to act in the current health crisis as more and more people discover that they could have been exposed to the virus. They expect to release an updated protocol made in guidance with recommendations issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention by the end of Monday.