Random tests for COVID-19 infection are now mandatory for personnel reporting to work at the Department of Energy’s Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, according to a recent note to personnel.

Essentially, anyone on-site, including subcontractors, could be scheduled for a test by the lab’s Occupational Medicine department. “Participation in the testing program is mandatory … and is a condition of employment,” the undated note from May reads.

Anybody selected for a random COVID-19 test will get a few days notice, according to the lab. Tests will focus especially on workers in essential national security jobs, and those who are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19, the lab said. 

OccMed will administer the tests on-site in the drive-through testing area established in the second week of May, when Los Alamos began performing and processing tests for the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus that broke out in Wuhan, China, last year. Tests typically involve deep nasal swabs. 

A Los Alamos spokesperson did not immediately reply to a request for comment on Monday. All throughout the pandemic, the lab has continued, albeit at a slower pace, to expand the Plutonium Facility, which by 2024 is supposed to produce war-ready plutonium-pits for future W87-1 warheads to be carried on Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent intercontinental ballistic missiles.

Around 12,500 people, including subcontractors and construction workers, work at Los Alamos, although the vast majority of those are no longer on-site because of COVID-19. During May, the lab wanted to perform and process about 400 COVID-19 tests a week, according to another communique to employees.