Lyft Advises San Francisco Employees to Go Home Over Coronavirus Concerns

Employees at the Lyft headquarters in San Francisco were encouraged to work from home Thursday after one member of the staff was discovered to have been in contact with an individual exposed to the coronavirus that causes the disease COVID-19.

"We recently learned that a Lyft team member at our San Francisco headquarters was in contact with someone who was exposed to COVID-19," said Lyft spokesperson Dana Davis in a statement to Newsweek. "The team member has not exhibited any symptoms, and is in touch with medical professionals. We are basing every step of our response process on CDC guidance, and out of an abundance of caution are encouraging our San Francisco headquarters employees to work from home for the remainder of this week."

San Francisco reported its first two cases of coronavirus Thursday, both believed to be the result of community spread. Neither patient had recently traveled or reported contact with an infected individual. One patient is reported to be in serious condition while the other is listed as being in fair condition.

"We do not know at this point how they were exposed to the virus, which suggests it is spreading in the community," said San Francisco public health director Dr. Grant Colfax in a Thursday statement. "We expected that to happen and are further investigating the circumstances of these patients' exposure."

coronavirus
Employees at the Lyft headquarters in San Francisco were encouraged to work from home Thursday after possible exposure to coronavirus by a staff member. Getty

"We want everyone to remain calm and continue taking precautions to keep themselves and their families healthy," read a statement from San Francisco Mayor London Breed. "We have been increasing resources and staffing to prepare for the community spread of this virus, and we will do everything we can to protect public health."

"The City is in regular contact with all hospitals and health facilities in San Francisco," Breed's statement continued, "and our health system is prepared to deliver care to everyone in need and provide a coordinated response as additional cases of the novel coronavirus are confirmed."

California Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency Wednesday after the first death from coronavirus in the state was reported.

"The state of California is deploying every level of government to help identify cases and slow the spread of this coronavirus," Newsom said in a statement. "This emergency proclamation will help the state further prepare our communities and our health care system in the event it spreads more broadly."

Off the coast of San Francisco, a Princess Cruise ship is being prevented from docking as passengers and crew members have shown coronavirus symptoms. Newsom said at a news conference on Wednesday that testing kits for the virus were being delivered to the ship.

"The ship will not come on shore until we appropriately assess the passengers and appropriately assess the protocols and procedures once people make it back on to state land, state property," Newsom said.

Newsom also said that receiving results from those tests should not be a long process. "We're now into a turnaround of roughly four hours for testing," Newsom explained.

Recent statistics show 213 confirmed positive cases of coronavirus in the U.S. with 12 deaths being attributed to the virus.

Statista Map U.S. Coronavirus March 5, 2020
A map by Statista shows the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S. as of March 5.

Correction- 6:29 p.m. EST 03/05/2020: This story's headline was amended to better reflect the statement from Lyft.