Galveston’s National Laboratory is safe and secure, and was not damaged by Hurricane Harvey, its director, Dr. James LeDuc, said Wednesday morning.
“It’s fine,” said LeDuc. “There’s no problems whatsoever. The lab was built to withstand hurricanes and it performed just fine. There was no breach of either physical or biological security.”
An article written on the Huffington Post website said “concern was rising for the safety of the biological lab,” in Harvey’s wake, and implied that the building was cut off from contact and that emergency generators were at risk of failing, and risked releasing infectious diseases that are kept there.
The truth is the building never lost its main power and was never seriously threatened by Harvey, LeDuc said. The laboratory began preparing for the hurricane well before it made landfall, he said.
“We have been tracking this storm for the better part of two weeks and stopping work in preparation for it,” LeDuc said.
“There was not a whole lot going on to begin with. Our biggest concern is our staff’s personal lives and the tragedies we’ve seen on the news.”
The article’s author, Joe Lauria, wrote in his article that he called the National Laboratory and did not receive a call back before publishing.
The laboratory received several media inquiries about its status before the storm, LeDuc said. No other outlet reported on the laboratory being at risk.
The Huffington Post removed the article after being contacted by The Daily News.
“This was a self-published piece on the HuffPost Contributors Platform,” Jordan Turgeon, Huffington Post’s Senior Contributors Editor said in an email. “We have removed the post from the site.”
The National Laboratory is a Biosafety Level 4 laboratory that conducts research on highly infectious diseases, such as Ebola. The lab was constructed to weather a Category 5 hurricane.
Galveston Island received relatively little damage compared to other parts of the county. The island did receive about 8 inches of rain on Tuesday, which flooded city streets and caused the city to order residents to shelter in place.