Los Angeles-Based ABC News Staffer Tests Positive for COVID-19

By A.J. Katz Comment

It’s official: All three of the big broadcast networks employ at least one staffer who has tested positive for COVID-19.

This one hails from ABC News’ Los Angeles bureau.

“This person was part of our Seattle coverage team and has been in isolation at home since last week and will remain in isolation under the supervision of their health care providers and the guidance of the CDC and local department of health,” ABC News president James Goldston wrote in a memo to staff.  “The symptoms were mild, and I’m glad to report our colleague is feeling much better already.  We’re wishing for a full and speedy recovery.”

Goldston has instructed the entire L.A.-based Seattle coverage team to self isolate and monitor for any symptoms of the virus.

Seattle and the surrounding region has been one the hardest hit areas in the country to-date.

All of the broadcast and cable news divisions and networks have instructed their staffers to work from home for the foreseeable future. In some cases, this means, leaving networks with “skeleton crews” to produce live programming.

NBC News announced earlier today that a staffer member on Today show’s 9 a.m. hour had contracted the virus. Out of caution, co-hosts Craig Melvin and Al Roker took the day off.

Six CBS Newsers have tested as positive for COVID, including Italy-based foreign correspondent Seth Doane.

Goldston’s complete note is below:

Team,
I want to give you an important update about our operations and COVID-19.

An ABC News employee who works in our LA bureau and was last in the office last Tuesday before becoming symptomatic tested positive for the virus today.

This person was part of our Seattle coverage team and has been in isolation at home since last week and will remain in isolation under the supervision of their health care providers and the guidance of the CDC and local department of health. The symptoms were mild, and I’m glad to report our colleague is feeling much better already. We’re wishing for a full and speedy recovery.

Out of an abundance of caution, as health officials advise, last week we told the entire Seattle coverage team to self isolate and monitor for any symptoms of COVID-19. We immediately took steps to increase our protocols for cleaning and sanitizing the bureau, including frequently touched surfaces, the work stations and public areas.

As a precaution, the bureau will now close so a specialized cleaning service can thoroughly disinfect the entire area again.

Your health and safety is always our top priority. Please be assured we have a proactive approach to manage any potential exposure to protect those involved and their colleagues.

While we believe that the employees who may have come in close contact have been notified and instructed to self isolate and monitor, as medical professionals advise, if you’re worried you may have been exposed, please talk to your manager or HR and your healthcare provider. We’re here to help.

In the meantime the bureau staff in LA is working remotely until they can return to their offices.

We are continuing to take precautions advised by the CDC and other government officials to prevent the spread of the virus.

As we’ve said before, it is imperative that if you’re sick, you should stay home.

If you become ill at work, you should leave and alert your manager, contact your health care provider to be evaluated and avoid contact with other individuals.

If you are confirmed to have COVID-19 or someone close to you is confirmed, you should alert your manager or HR so that they can inform the proper individuals for guidance and take appropriate steps to keep you and others healthy.

If you should be in a situation where you need to reach someone immediately, you can call the desk at _____ and they will direct your call to Bob Murphy, Barbara Fedida or Wendy Fisher.

Thank you for your patience. This is a fast moving situation, and there are many people here to help answer your questions. Please get in touch with your manager or HR partner if you have any questions or need support.

James

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