Staffer on Third Hour of Today Show Tests Positive for COVID-19

By A.J. Katz 

The coronavirus has spread to NBC News. The third hour of Today, specifically.

Out of caution, co-hosts Craig Melvin and Al Roker are taking the morning off.

The Daily Beast first reported Today show will continue, but all members of the third-hour edit team have been told to work from home Monday while the network sets out to identify everyone who has had contact with the employee.

When these people are identified, they’ll be instructed to self-isolate for some time.

Here’s Noah Oppenheim’s memo to staff. The news division’s president sent this out overnight:

We have learned that a TODAY employee based at 30 Rockefeller Plaza and working for the 9am hour has tested positive for coronavirus (Covid-19). We are fully supporting our colleague, who is experiencing mild symptoms and receiving medical care, and I know you join me in sending our very best for a quick recovery.

As you know, we have been preparing for this possibility and are taking all necessary steps to ensure the health and safety of our teams, which includes multiple deep cleanings of our offices, control room and Studio 1A.

Additionally, we are identifying employees who had been in close proximity to the affected employee and – while not required to do so by the NY Health Department – are in the process of asking those who had close contact to self-isolate.

In the meantime, we are asking all members of the 9am hour editorial team to work from home on Monday while we complete the social mapping exercise.

This is in addition to our ongoing plan to have tri-state area employees work remotely or stagger work hours, when possible.

We want to continue to assure you that your health and safety are our top priority, and remind you that NBCUniversal’s experienced team of medical professionals and crisis management experts is in constant communication with authorities, and are continuously assessing the best and safest practices for all of us.

We will continue to keep you informed. Please reach out to your manager or HR manager with any additional questions.

Thank you,

NBC News isn’t the only network to have this issue. You’ll remember that three CBS News staffers tested positive for the virus last week. The news broke Wednesday afternoon, and CBS Broadcast Center was forced to close its doors and move operations to D.C. and L.A. until Saturday.

In the meantime, the reported number for CBS has grown to six. One has been named as Italy-based correspondent Seth Doane, who said Monday that he caught the coronavirus in New York before traveling to Rome and testing positive there.

CNN’s Brian Stelter reported the news of Doane being tested as positive. Stelter said Doane gave him the thumbs-up to identify himself. Doane then spoke about the virus today during an appearance on CBS This Morning.