132 employees at SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne test positive for COVID-19 – Daily News

By Justin Bachman | Bloomberg

At least 132 employees at SpaceX headquarters in California have tested positive for COVID-19, the highest number of confirmed non-residential cases in Los Angeles County.

The data was reported by county health officials on Monday, noting that the numbers are dynamic and subject to change. Nearly 6,000 employees work at the headquarters of Space Exploration Technologies Corp. in Hawthorne, near Los Angeles International Airport.

SpaceX told the Washington Post on Tuesday, December 21 that “only one case was suspected to have occurred at work.” The numbers went back several months, going back to September, when “several employees who work in the same field contracted COVID outside of work during a non-work-related event,” according to the report.

The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Bloomberg. LA County health officials also did not respond immediately.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 spins under the moon along the west coast, as seen from Santa Monica, after taking off from Vandenberg Space Force Base at 4:41 a.m. on Saturday, December 18, 2021, with 52 Starlink Internet satellites. The reusable rocket first stage thruster made its 11th flight in space before landing on an offshore drone. (Photo by Gene Blevins / Contributing Photographer)

With 132 cases, the outbreak is by far the largest reported by the county. The second-largest outbreak is at a FedEx facility on the 5900 block of the West Imperial Highway, where 85 cases have been confirmed. One Northrop Grumman facility is Palmdale has 33 cases.

The county considers an outbreak to be three or more cases linked to a single location. The county is currently reporting 37 outbreaks in non-residential settings.

The outbreak comes during a busy period for the company, which has carried out four Falcon 9 launches since December 9, including a cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station early Tuesday.

The United States is grappling with a new wave amid the spread of the omicron variant. Nationwide daily coronavirus infections hit their highest level since September, with nearly 254,000 cases reported on Monday, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg.

In March 2020, SpaceX founder Elon Musk challenged officials in Alameda County, the site of a Tesla Inc. factory, over pandemic restrictions that shut down the Fremont auto plant. Musk also sued the county before later dropping that lawsuit.

City News Service contributed to this report

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