A staffer with NBC’s “Today” show tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the Wuhan coronavirus, forcing hosts Al Roker and Craig Melvin to take time off.
Anchors Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb announced the news during a “Today” broadcast on Monday morning, noting that they are practicing social distancing and sitting away from one another. Melvin and Roker were off for the day as a precautionary measure and haven’t tested positive for the coronavirus.
Guthrie told viewers: “Last night we learned that a colleague of ours on the third hour of ‘Today’ has tested positive for COVID-19 … so out of an abundance of caution, Craig and Al have taken the morning off, so we can trace their contacts, see what is going on with them, we promise to keep you posted, both are fine right now. They feel good, but caution is the order of the day.”
We learned late last night a colleague on the 3rd hour of TODAY tested positive for COVID-19.
Out of an abundance of caution, Craig and Al are taking the morning off while we map that colleague’s close contacts. pic.twitter.com/aVHJpMU1Fj
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) March 16, 2020
Guthrie and co-host Kotb said they are sitting apart so they don’t potentially spread the virus.
“We are missing something that’s really important to us on this show and that’s our crowd that we normally would show you at this time,” said Guthrie last week on Thursday. “But we are following the guidance of health officials, and we are suspending live audiences here at our plaza—for now—just trying to do our part, but we miss you and we hope to invite you back soon.”
NBC News president Noah Oppenheim wrote to staff in a letter: “We have learned that a TODAY employee based at 30 Rockefeller Plaza and working for the 9am hour has tested positive for coronavirus (Covid-19). We are fully supporting our colleague, who is experiencing mild symptoms and receiving medical care, and I know you join me in sending our very best for a quick recovery.”
Oppenheim said NBC’s leaders are identifying employees who are in close proximity to the employee. They have asked others to self-quarantine.
“As you know, we have been preparing for this possibility and are taking all necessary steps to ensure the health and safety of our teams, which includes multiple deep cleanings of our offices, control room and Studio 1A,” he said.