Fox News Media confirmed “a few positive” exposures to the coronavirus among its employees in the wake of a New York Times report that said its president and a handful of well-known anchors were being told to quarantine after recently coming in close proximity to a person with coronavirus.
The Times reported that Fox News Media President Jay Wallace (above, pictured), and anchors Bret Baier, Martha MacCallum, Dana Perino and Juan Williams were among the staffers exposed. Fox News declined to offer information about specific employees, and has cited a need to keep private health information confidential.
If those people are among the employees affected, it could have consequences for some of Fox News’ most important programming in days ahead. Baier and MacCallum are expected to anchor election-night proceedings on Fox News Channel, and Wallace would have a key role during that evening. During a radio appearance Monday. Baier told Fox News host Brian Kilmeade: “Somebody in proximity to us tested positive a few days later for COVID. So we’re taking all the precautions. I’ve tested negative three times now and I’ll be doing the show from home this week. And we’ll be in preparation for Election Day.”
In a memo to staffers Monday, Wallace and Fox News Media CEO Suzanne Scott said any employee testing positive “will be quarantining and following all of our mandatory guidelines before they enter any of our buildings. Please know that we stay in close contact with those employees who have been affected and offer our complete support.”
The executives said the news company “will be further reducing some of the workforce in our building and operating virtually wherever possible throughout the week.” On Election Night, the executives said, “only those employees who are critical to that night’s production will be permitted” to work at Fox News’ New York headquarters. “We will have enhanced testing procedures in place and increased safety protocols have been instituted throughout all our buildings since the pandemic.”
Fox News has dealt with other potential exposures in the recent past. Earlier this month, a handful of personnel who attended the first presidential debate were among those who were expected to get tested after Chris Wallace, the Fox News anchor who moderated the event, was close to President Trump, who subsequently disclosed he had contracted the disease. Wallace tested negative.