Amazon employee in Seattle tests positive for coronavirus

A view of Amazon’s evolving headquarters in downtown Seattle on March 3, 2020. (GeekWire Photo / Kurt Schlosser)

An Amazon employee at the company’s Seattle headquarters has tested positive for the novel coronavirus spreading across the country, according to an internal email obtained by GeekWire.

The employee went home sick on Tuesday, Feb. 25 and later tested positive for COVID-19. Amazon notified employees who came into close contact with the individual. The employee is based out of Amazon’s Brazil building at 400 9th Ave N, near downtown Seattle.

An Amazon spokesperson confirmed the news and said the company is “supporting the affected employee who is in quarantine.”

Amazon is advising employees who are experiencing symptoms of the coronavirus to stay home and seek medical attention. The company is conducting “enhanced deep cleaning and sanitization” at the office.

Amazon employs more than 50,000 people in the Seattle region, most of whom are clustered at the headquarters in South Lake Union.

More than 20 people in the Seattle region have tested positive for COVID-19 and eight people have died, according to state health officials. The Seattle area has become an epicenter for the outbreak in the U.S.

“There will be more in the whole state,” a researcher with Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center wrote on Monday, detailing the potential chain of infections.

Read the email Amazon sent to employees below.

The virus is sending shockwaves through the technology industry, with companies canceling conferences and struggling to fortify supply chains that rely on Chinese manufacturing.

Last week, Amazon asked employees to defer “non-essential” travel in the U.S. and abroad. The company started restricting business travel to China, the epicenter of the epidemic, in late January.

Amazon is also notifying invitees to this month’s MARS conference that the event has been canceled due to concerns about the coronavirus. The annual invitation-only conference, traditionally hosted by CEO Jeff Bezos, typically draws a high-profile audience to Southern California in March to discuss machine learning, automation, robotics, and space.

Amazon on Sunday confirmed that two of its employees in Milan, Italy contracted the coronavirus.

The company has warned of delivery delays due to the outbreak. It also pulled over 1 million products from its marketplace related to coronavirus.

The Seattle region’s other tech giant, Microsoft, canceled its MVP Summit due to the virus and F5 Networks closed its Seattle office tower Monday for cleaning after an employee came into contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19. In the San Francisco area, Twitter is encouraging all employees to work from home to prevent the virus from spreading.

More than 90,000 people have been infected by coronavirus worldwide, with more than 3,000 deaths.

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