Coronavirus fallout: NASA center issues mandatory work-from-home policy after employee tests positive

A major NASA facility issued a mandatory order for employees to work from home after one person tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

The Ames Center received notice on March 8 that one employee tested positive for COVID-19, which has now infected over 113,000 people and killed 3,996 people in 111 countries.

"We believe the exposure at the center has been limited, but — out of an abundance of caution, and in consultation with NASA Headquarters and the NASA Chief Health and Medical Officer in accordance to agency response plans — Ames Research Center will temporarily go to a mandatory telework status until further notice," the Ames Center said in a statement.

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Police officers and soldiers check passengers leaving from Milan main train station, Italy, Monday, March 9, 2020.

Police officers and soldiers check passengers leaving from Milan main train station, Italy, Monday, March 9, 2020. (AP)

NASA employees have had telework privileges for a long time, but they were encouraged to bring their laptops and badges home on March 6 in a wider test of these systems.

“The purpose of this exercise is to test our capabilities, resources and preparedness for large-scale teleworking,” Steve Jurczyk, NASA’s associate administrator, said via email last week. “I encourage civil servants and onsite contractors who are telework eligible to participate by working from an alternate location Friday.”

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