Justin Bachmann | Bloomberg
At least 132 employees at SpaceX’s California headquarters have tested positive for Covid-19, the largest number of confirmed cases in nonresident Los Angeles County.
The figures were released Monday by county health officials, noting that the numbers are dynamic and subject to change. According to the Los Angeles Times, about 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 that “only one incident at work is suspected.” The numbers were for months, starting in September, when “several employees who work in the same area contracted Covid outside of work at a non-work-related event,” the report said.
The company did not immediately respond to a Bloomberg request for comment. Los Angeles County health officials also did not respond immediately.
The outbreak came during a busy period for the company, which has completed four Falcon 9 launches since December 9, including a mission to deliver cargo to the International Space Station early Tuesday morning.
The US is struggling with a new wave amid the spread of the omicron variant. The daily number of coronavirus cases nationwide jumped to its 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 authorities in Alameda County, where Tesla Inc.’s plant is located, over the pandemic restrictions that closed the Fremont car plant. Musk also sued the county, but later dropped the claim.
The Los Angeles County Health Department requires all employees to wear a face mask when working indoors, regardless of vaccination status, with the exception of eating, drinking, or being alone in a room. For the most part, private employers such as SpaceX are not subject to the district’s strict vaccine proof or Covid-19 test negative policy to enter certain public places such as restaurants, bars and gyms.
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