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Coronavirus: Facebook to close Seattle office after worker tests positive

Facebook’s Seattle office is closed until at least Monday, March 9, after a contracted worker tested positive for COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus. 

CNBC reports that the worker was last at the office on February 21 and that March 9 would be the end of the infected contractor’s incubation period. The 5,000 workers at Facebook’s Seattle office have been advised to work from home until March 31, per King County’s guidance. 

“A contractor based in our Stadium East office has been diagnosed with the COVID-19,” a spokesperson told CNBC in a statement. “We’ve notified our employees and are following the advice of public health officials to prioritize everyone’s health and safety.”

Seattle has, by far, seen the most coronavirus cases in the U.S., with at least 39 confirmed cases and 10 deaths, according to CNBC. A worker at one of Amazon’s Seattle offices has also tested positive with the coronavirus, however, Amazon did not close its offices, saying that the risk of transmission to other employees “is assessed to be low,” according to a company memo. 

Digital Trends reached out to Facebook to comment on its decision to close its Seattle office, as well as how the closure would affect the company. We will update this story when we hear back. 

Gilles Mingasson/Getty Images

In total, there have been more than 96,800 confirmed cases of the coronavirus worldwide, and 3,305 confirmed deaths. The virus is believed to have originated in Wuhan, China, but there have been confirmed cases in the U.S., Australia, Canada, Japan, France, Germany, and more countries around the globe. It has caused massive travel discrepancies, tech company closures, significant event cancellations, and more.

The coronavirus outbreak has hit the tech industry especially hard. Major tech events like Google’s I/O Conference, Facebook’s F8 developer conference, and Mobile World Congress have all been canceled due to the coronavirus. 

Outside of the U.S., about 50 percent of regional factories in China have shut down since the coronavirus outbreak began late last year, and many production facilities are behind on products. Apple stores have already reported a shortage of replacement parts due to the virus outbreak. 

You can learn more about Facebook’s coronavirus safety precautions here.

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