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Tesla has more than 130 employees who tested positive for coronavirus: report

Ethan Baron, The Mercury News on

Published in Business News

Tesla, which earlier re-opened its Fremont electric car factory in defiance of a coronavirus health order, has had more than 130 employees test positive for the deadly virus, according to a blog claiming to have received company information.

"An internal data leak shows that Tesla is seeing a spike in COVID-19 'exposure,' primarily at its Fremont factory in California," the blog Electrek reported. "So far, more than 130 Tesla workers have tested positive with more test results pending, and a dozen more contractors and temporary employees involved with Tesla's operations have also tested positive."

Tesla did not immediately respond to questions about the report. Alameda County health officials also did not respond to questions.

Electrek did not say in which Tesla facilities the purportedly virus-positive employees worked.

The Palo Alto, Calif.-headquartered company's CEO, Elon Musk, had battled Alameda County health officials over a work-from-home order that had shuttered the Fremont plant for weeks. The plant re-opened for a week in defiance of the order, with the car maker suing the county in May then dropping the suit after the two parties reached an agreement allowing Tesla to resume vehicle production in Fremont.

Tesla's head of worker safety in June sent an email to employees saying the company knew of some employees who had contracted coronavirus from outside the workplace, but there had been no transmissions from contact between workers at Tesla's factory.

Also in June, representatives from workers' groups rallied outside the Fremont plant, demanding more information about reported coronavirus cases. Tesla in a July 2 blog post cited "very few cases" at the company and added, "those who have been impacted have either returned to work or are recovering from home."

 

The state's workplace-safety regulator, Cal/OSHA, said in June that it was investigating Tesla's main plant and another company facility in Fremont.

"The investigations are active and ongoing," Cal/OSHA said at the time, adding that the department "takes seriously its mandate to investigate workplace accidents, fatalities and complaints at workplaces throughout California."

The agency on Wednesday declined to say whether the investigations involved coronavirus.

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