After Employees Test Positive For Coronavirus, NASA Mandates Telecommuting

Amid the coronavirus outbreak that has affected so many all over the globe, American spaceflight company NASA has reportedly ordered employees at its Alabama-based Marshall Space Flight Center to telework right after one of its employees tested positive for the deadly virus.

Coronavirus Outbreak

Late last December, the very first case of COVID-19 was first detected in the Chinese province of Wuhan, believed to have come from one of its exotic meat markets. Since then, the virus has spread all across different countries, characterized by flu-like and respiratory symptoms similar to pneumonia. And now, one of NASA’s employees at the Marshall Space Flight Center located in Alabama has also tested positive for the virus, pushing the spaceflight company to telecommute as a preventive measure for any more possible cases.

"NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center is moving into Stage 3 of our agency response framework, with mandatory telework effective immediately and until further notice," Center Director Jody Singer said in a statement released Friday.

As such, the U.S. space agency is also working on identifying anyone who may have made contact recently with the infected employee. Beyond this, the agency’s Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California, is under Stage 3 as well, what with one of its employees testing positive too.

Following this, NASA has since issued travel guidelines for its entire staff in order to ensure everyone is safe from the viral outbreak. Furthermore, NASA facilities that are under Stage 3 have also decided to suspend travel for its employees, except for “protection of life or property,” or “mission essential work.” As such, all the staff is required to do their work via telecommunication, with food services at the facilities take-out only. Additionally, health clinics are open to support mission-essential personnel only, according to NASA.

However, those that are under Stage 2 guidelines allows for travel to or from locations "when physical presence is required."

Large meetings that are in-person are also cancelled, with employees encouraged to telework from their homes in order to take out the need to go outside of the house and risk getting infected with the virus as well.

Coronavirus testing The Trump administration marked COVID-19 tests as an essential health benefit, which allows Medicaid and Medicare plans to cover the cost of the screening. Pixabay