Science & Technology

Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin space venture says three workers in Kent have tested positive for coronavirus

Three workers at Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin space venture have tested positive for coronavirus and at the moment are in quarantine, a spokeswoman for the corporate says.

One case got here to gentle on Friday, and two different instances had been confirmed over the weekend, stated Linda Mills, Blue Origin’s vice chairman of communications.

Mills mentioned the primary case in an announcement emailed to GeekWire on Friday evening;:

“This particular person was final working in our Kent manufacturing facility on Thursday, March 26, and has been at residence since then. Blue Origin’s Human Assets staff will stay in contact with him all through the restoration interval to verify he’s getting the care and assist he wants whereas he quarantines and seeks medical care.

“The well being and security of this particular person — and the Blue Origin staff — is our first precedence and predominant concern. We’re following all CDC tips in any respect of our services, and have applied further procedures to make sure the continuing security of our workers.”

Phrase of that detection got here a day after reports emerged that some Blue Origin workers had been involved about plans to ship a staff right down to the corporate’s West Texas launch complicated for an uncrewed take a look at flight of the New Shepard suborbital spacecraft. The issues targeted not solely on the potential journey threat for workers, but in addition on the potential for an worker with an asymptomatic case of COVID-19 to cross alongside the virus unwittingly to residents in the world surrounding the launch web site.

In response to these stories, Blue Origin stated it’s doing every little thing it could “to safeguard our workforce and communities.”

Like many different aerospace corporations, Blue Origin is taken into account a necessary enterprise and has been exempted from Washington state’s stay-at-home order. Nonetheless, Blue Origin says it has been emphasizing telework preparations, conducting deep cleansing of its services, eliminating non-essential visits, minimizing journey and practising social distancing.

We realized concerning the first COVID-19 case from sources who additionally expressed concern about different workers who would possibly have come in contact with the contaminated employee. Mills addressed that concern in a follow-up e mail to GeekWire:

“Our Human Assets staff interviewed the contaminated worker to evaluate threat to others and have contacted the small variety of workers who had been in contact with him. For these workers who could have been in shut contact with the worker, HR has directed them to self-quarantine at residence for 14 days. Upon studying of his affirmation at present, we performed one other deep cleansing of the areas he visited (on prime of the deep cleanings that had been performed earlier this week for unrelated causes). We are going to proceed to do deep cleanings of our workspaces, as warranted.”

The subsequent two instances concerned a married couple — with one working on the manufacturing facility in Kent, Wash., and the opposite working on the O’Neill headquarters constructing throughout the road, Mills stated at present throughout a follow-up name. One of many workers was at work as just lately as Friday.

Like the worker who was concerned in the sooner case, these two workers are searching for medical care and can stay in contact with Blue Origin throughout their restoration interval. Mills stated different workers who got here in contact with the sufferers have been directed to self-quarantine for 14 days, and the areas the place they labored are being deep-cleaned.

That is an up to date model of a report that was first revealed at 10:12 p.m. PT April 6.

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