An Amazon employee in Seattle has tested positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus, as first reported by The New York Times. “We’re supporting the affected employee who is in quarantine,” the company tells The Verge in a statement.
The employee is based out of the company’s “Brazil” (SEA53) building, according to an internal memo sent out to Amazon employees and obtained by The Verge. They went home feeling unwell on Tuesday, February 25th and haven’t returned to Amazon premises since. Amazon has notified employees who have been in close contact with the person.
Earlier this week Amazon confirmed that two of its employees in Italy had contracted the virus and were in quarantine. The company had already requested that its nearly 800,000 employees halt non-essential travel within the US and elsewhere. Amazon has also had to deal with price gouging and misinformation on its marketplace in the wake of the virus outbreak.
Nine people have died in Washington state from the novel coronavirus — and it’s the only place in the U.S. where deaths have occurred. There’s an ongoing outbreak of the virus in nearby Kirkland, Washington, where it spread among residents of a nursing facility.
The virus may have been spreading undetected in Washington for six weeks, according to a genetic analysis. The spread wasn’t noticed until last week because the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention hadn’t been testing people with no known exposure to the illness.