SpaceX had 132 employees tested positive for COVID-19 at its headquarters in Hawthorne, Calif., According to the Los Angeles County Department of Health, as the Elon Musk-founded space company maintained a scorching pace of rocket launches before the new Year.
In a statement Tuesday, SpaceX said “only one case was suspected to have occurred at work” and that the numbers went back several months, going back to September, when “several employees who work in the same field contracted COVID away from work during a non-work related event. This prompted SpaceX to report the results to the county health department, he said.
The number “does not mean that 132 Hawthorne employees have COVID today or contracted it in the workplace,” the company said.
The numbers were the largest among Los Angeles County businesses, officials said, and it comes as the omicron variant is spreading rapidly in the United States and around the world. Nearly 90 countries have now reported cases of omicron, raising new concerns for already strained health systems, communities and economies.
He added that the company “will continue to work very hard to ensure the safety of employees in the workplace.”
In LA County, a FedEx facility had the second highest number of people testing positive, with 85, and a Northrop Grumman facility had 33. Nearly 6,000 employees work at SpaceX headquarters, the Los Angeles reported. Times, citing court documents.
In California, where the average number of new cases recorded daily rose 64% according to the Washington Post tracking, a statewide warrant requiring residents to wear masks indoors went into effect the last week and is expected to last until mid-January. People are advised to wear a face covering regardless of their vaccination status in order to slow the transmission of the virus.
“We know people are tired and thirsty for normality,” Mark Ghaly, secretary of the California health agency, said last week as New York announced an indoor mask mandate as well. âFrankly, so am I,â but masks are a âtool that we know has worked and can workâ.
This is not the first time that outbreaks have been reported at facilities run by Musk.
Last year, Musk defied local authorities’ efforts to shut down his Tesla plant in the San Francisco area despite a county-wide stay-at-home order, daring authorities to shut him down.
âTesla is restarting production today against Alameda County rules,â Musk wrote on Twitter in May 2020. âI’ll be online with everyone. If anyone is arrested, I ask that it not be than me.
County-level data obtained by a legal transparency website covering the months between May and December of last year showed that there were around 450 total cases reported to the plant, which employs around 10,000, The Post reported previously.
Tesla has also been criticized for his treatment of employees after some who expressed concern over exposure to the coronavirus said they received layoff notices after they did not return to work, reported The Post last year.