Fox News president Jay Wallace and a number of the network’s top talents were advised to quarantine after a possible COVID-19 exposure, according to a report in the New York Times.
A Fox News spokesperson did not confirm the report to TheWrap. The Times reported that a network representative “would not confirm any details of the exposure, citing the need to keep private health information confidential.”
The Times reports that among those advised to quarantine after a private flight with someone who later tested positive are anchors Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum. “The Five” co-hosts Dana Perino and Juan Williams were also reportedly among those cautioned to quarantine. The on-air talents are, per the report, expected to host their respective shows remotely this week.
An internal Fox News memo from Monday morning obtained by TheWrap addressed “recent developments of a few positive COVID-19 cases at Fox news Media.”
The memo, from Wallace and Fox News Media CEO Suzanne Scott, said, This is a reminder that any employee who has tested 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.”
According to the report, the exposure took place on a flight from Nashville to New York following last week’s presidential debate between President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden.
The news comes two days after a number of Vice President Mike Pence’s aides tested positive for COVID-19. Earlier this month, Trump himself tested positive and was hospitalized for a few days. First Lady Melania Trump and their son also tested positive, as did a number of White House officials and top Republicans, including senators and the GOP chair. Communications staff, including White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, also tested positive earlier this month, as did reporters who cover the White House.
Some of Fox News’ on-air talents have transitioned back into the studio in recent weeks. “The Five,” on which Perino and Williams appear, went back to the studio in September, implementing new social distancing guidelines that do away with the panel show’s famous five-person table.
The Monday memo from Wallace and Scott noted, “Over the next week it is crucial that we continue to remain vigilant. To that end, we will be further reducing some of the workforce in our buildings and operating virtually wherever possible throughout the week. We know this election will be like no other and it will be exciting to witness it first hand, but only those employees who are critical to that night’s production will be permitted to work from [the New York offices].”
Perino, at least, is accustomed to remote work. She gave TheWrap her tips for working from home this spring, at the onset of the pandemic.
“I think it’s really important to try to keep as consistent a schedule, as if you were still going into the office,” she said in March. “But the other thing that I do recommend stepping away from the news for a few moments, if you can.”