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Tesla Worker At Nevada Gigafactory Tested Positive For Coronavirus As Company Cut 75% Staff

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Tesla Worker At Nevada Gigafactory Tested Positive For Coronavirus As Company Cut 75% Staff

A Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) employee at the Nevada gigafactory tested positive for novel coronavirus (COVID-19), around the time the company decided to reduce staff at the manufacturing plant by over 70 percent.

What Happened

In an internal memo on Sunday, Tesla supplier Panasonic Corporation (OTC: PCRFY) informed employees that one of the automaker's employees at the plant has tested positive, KRNV NBC Reno reported.

The Tesla employee was at the gigafactory for an hour on March 21, before going home for being sick.

Panasonic told employees that the worker didn't have a connection with the battery maker's own production processes.

According to the memo reported by KRNV, Tesla activated a safety protocol after the results became known, which included a "14-day quarantine for particular employees identified by their [environment, health, and safety] team and certain cleaning measures."

Why It Matters

Tesla decided to reduce the staff at the Nevada plant by 75% earlier last week, as notified by the local county manager. Panasonic had suspended all operations at the plant a week before.

The automaker's CEO Elon Musk has changed his tune over the coronavirus over the month.

Earlier this month, he downplayed the impact of COVID-19 with a tweet claiming that "coronavirus panic is dumb." A few weeks later, Musk wrote to the employees that "the harm from the coronavirus panic far exceeds that of the virus itself," as reported by Electrek at the time.

The billionaire entrepreneur said that no employee should feel pressured to come to work if they feel "slightest bit ill or even uncomfortable" during the pandemic, but he himself would continue to come to work every day.

The exchange between Tesla and Alameda county officials suggested that the company also initially resisted the shelter-in-place orders put by local authorities at its Fremont Factory.

The local authorities ruled that Tesla isn't an essential business and must only maintain minimum basic operations at the site.

The automaker later shut down both Fremont and New York factories due to the restrictions imposed by authorities to curb the pandemic.

The Palo Alto-based company has instead said it is making ventilators for patients who fall critically ill from COVID-19 and require breathing support. California Governor Gavin Newsom earlier said that Tesla already delivered the 1,000 ventilators it promised in less than a week.

Price Action

Tesla's shares closed 2.38% lower at $502.13 on Monday. The shares traded 0.17% higher at $503 in the after-hours session.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Tesla.

 

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