An employee at the Zuckerberg Chan Initiative tested positive for coronavirus

An employee at Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s charitable organization, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI), tested positive for coronavirus. 

The charity was founded in 2015 by Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan. The organization uses technology to contribute to advances in health, education, scientific research, and energy.

A spokesperson for the charity confirmed Thursday that an employee was diagnosed with COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. 

“A Chan Zuckerberg Initiative worker has reported being diagnosed with the COVID-19 coronavirus,” a CZI spokesperson said in a statement. “All employees have been notified, including those who were in close contact with the person. We will continue to take all necessary steps in line with public health protocols.”

A CZI spokesperson told the Financial Times that the employee had been exposed to a relative who contracted the virus. The charity also made it mandatory for all employees of the Redwood City, California, offices to work from home through the end of the week as a precaution. 

News of the coronavirus case at the charity comes as Facebook “strongly” recommended that all of its Bay Area employees work remotely out of coronavirus concerns. 

In a statement sent late Thursday, a Facebook spokesperson told Business Insider: “Based on guidance from Santa Clara County today, we are strongly recommending that all Bay Area employees and contingent staff work from home starting tomorrow, Friday, March 6th. This decision is based on our desire to minimize the risk of spreading COVID-19. The health and safety of our teams, their loved ones and our neighbors remain a top priority.”

The coronavirus, which has so far infected over 98,000 people and killed more than 3,300 around the world, has led several US tech companies, like Apple, Google, Facebook, and Microsoft, to enforce strict travel restrictions to prevent further spread.

Amazon, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft have already asked their Seattle-based staff to work from home. Google also said those working the the Bay Area could work remotely.

Facebook has also canceled its F8 developer conference in response to the outbreak, which is typically the company’s biggest event of the year. 

The US has reported at least 232 coronavirus cases in total across 19 states. Twelve people in the US have died from the virus, including 11 in Washington state and one in California.

Rob Price contributed to reporting. 

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