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Amazon employee at Seattle headquarters tests positive for coronavirus

The online retail giant says it's supporting the employee, who is in quarantine.

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Amazon has about 55,000 employees at its headquarters in Seattle. 

James Martin/CNET

An Amazon employee at the company's Seattle headquarters has tested positive for the novel coronavirus as the COVID-19 outbreak continues to spread in the US. The online retail giant has about 55,000 employees in the Seattle area, and reportedly said people working in close contact with the affected person have been notified.

"We're supporting the affected employee who is in quarantine," said an Amazon spokesperson Wednesday. 

The employee went home sick on Feb. 25 and hasn't returned to work since, according to a message sent to Amazon employees seen by The Seattle Times. Amazon learned Tuesday that the employee had tested positive for the virus. 

Washington state health officials have reported nine deaths due to COVID-19 as of Wednesday, with 27 confirmed cases in the state. Across the US, there were more than 100 cases in 15 states as of Tuesday night. 

The novel coronavirus, officially known as SARS-CoV-2, causes an illness exhibiting pneumonia-like symptoms. It was first reported to the World Health Organization on Dec. 31 after originating in Wuhan, China, and has spread to countries around the globe. Deaths from the disease now top 3,000, and more than 90,000 people have been infected. 

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