A Today show staffer has contracted the Chinese coronavirus, leading co-hosts Craig Melvin and Al Roker to temporarily go off-air, co-anchor Savannah Guthrie announced on Monday.
“Personal note, for this show: Last night we learned that a colleague of ours on the third hour of ‘Today’ has tested positive for COVID-19, the novel coronavirus,” Guthrie announced:
We learned late last night a colleague on the 3rd hour of TODAY tested positive for COVID-19.
Out of an abundance of caution, Craig and Al are taking the morning off while we map that colleague’s close contacts. pic.twitter.com/aVHJpMU1Fj
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) March 16, 2020
Because of that and out of an “abundance of caution,” co-hosts Melvin and Roker took the morning off so that the network can “trace their contacts, see what’s going on with them,” Guthrie continued, adding that they both “feel good.”
“We promise to keep you posted. Both are fine right now. They feel good. But caution is the order of the day,” she said.
NBC News president Noah Oppenheim also released a statement to staffers.
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.
Employees will be asked to work remotely for the next two days and broadcasts moved to accommodate the cleaning, the network said. For instance, “CBS This Morning” will originate out of Washington on Thursday and Friday while the New York offices are cleaned.
People who came in contact with the sick employees will be asked to self-quarantine for the next two weeks, CBS News President Susan Zirinsky said in a memo to staff.
“At this point, we anticipate the offices will be open Monday,” Zirinsky wrote.
Meanwhile, The Associated Press and NBC News on Wednesday announced work-at-home plans as concerns about the global pandemic grew.
CNN, along with the Democratic National Committee (DNC), also made key changes for the Democrat debate on Sunday, holding it in-studio in the nation’s capital rather than in Arizona, as previously planned. No audience was present.