An employee at Tesla’s battery plant in Reno, Nevada, tested positive for COVID-19, according to an internal Tesla document. Tesla is expected to report vehicle deliveries for the first quarter of 2020 within a week. Although the new corona virus outbreak has affected the company’s operations in the U.S. and Shanghai, Tesla has not withdrawn its previously announced outlook.
A statement sent by Panasonic North America to employees working at the superfactory on March 29 showed that a Tesla employee who had contracted the new corona virus and was unwell after working at the plant for an hour on Saturday, March 21, was sent home. The company added: “In such cases, the company has a safety process that includes a 14-day quarantine of specific employees identified by the EHS team and cleaning measures.” “
Cleaning measures are particularly important in limiting the COVID-19 virus, which researchers found could survive up to four hours on copper surfaces, one day on paper surfaces and two to three days on plastic and stainless steel surfaces.
Two Tesla employees, who did not want to be identified, said they sent a similar message to employees on March 28. Both Tesla and Panasonic deployed temperature screening at the plant after the infected employees were sent home that day, the sources said.
On March 20th Panasonic announced plans to gradually reduce its operations, which it hopes will bring to a minimum and stop battery production for two weeks, during which it will provide employees with an additional two weeks of paid leave.
Tesla has been operating at its superplant for about a week after Panasonic’s decision to shut down. On March 26th Tesla finally told local authorities that it planned to reduce the number of employees at its super plant by about 75 percent.
Neither Panasonic nor Tesla responded to requests for comment in the first place.
Elon Musk also appears to have changed his tune in recent days as some employees at Tesla and SpaceX become infected. Earlier, he said on Twitter that the panic over the new corona virus outbreak was “stupid”.
But soon after, Musk wrote in an e-mail to all Tesla employees: “My honest view at the moment remains that the fear of the new corona virus is more damaging than the virus itself.” He had even falsely claimed on Twitter that children were “basically immune” to the virus.
More recently, Musk has begun sharing some research on potential but unproven treatments for the COVID-19 virus, praising medical device manufacturers such as Medtronic.
In addition, Musk has stepped up his contribution in the fight against the outbreak, purchasing a number of ventilators and donating them to hospitals in need, promising that several of his companies will start producing ventilators and will donate them after production, rather than selling them.