The Dr. Oz Show will join the growing number of television shows filming remotely amid the coronavirus pandemic after a staffer tested positive for the disease. Showrunner Amy Chiaro sent an email to staff on Wednesday making the announcement, Page Six reports.
"We have had a staff member test positive for Covid-19. Only 1 staff member has been tested at this time (that we are aware of)," Chiaro wrote. "We are asking everyone to wrap up their work on the Dr. Oz office side of the building at 125 West End Avenue and head home. This person was based out of that office space. We will take every necessary measure to have the offices and office areas deep cleaned ASAP."
Chario added that the staff member in question "was sent home Thursday when exhibiting a symptom of a dry cough."
According to a source, show host Mehmet Oz was "instrumental" in having the staff member tested.
"His symptoms were subtle and he was sent home. He didn’t go home thinking he had coronavirus, but Dr. Oz wanted to be overly cautious and insisted he get the test," a source said. "He personally intervened and it turned out to be the right move. Oz has been doing shows on the topic and knew doctors who had access, so he was able to fast-track it to get the test."
Oz had also reportedly been taking "strict" social distancing measures on set including having meetings by phone from separate offices and having hair and makeup wear masks and gloves.
The Dr. Oz Show was one of the few daytime shows that were continuing to film live amid the pandemic, though the program had suspended its live studio audience last week. Oz did have some guests on the show since the staff member was sent home on Thursday.
"There’s a long shortlist of people they’re in the process of notifying," the source said. "They had to notify the crew. They had to notify the staff, so that’s what they’ve been doing so far."
Oz will now film his show remotely from a mini studio set up at his home. Earlier this month, the host wrote a guest column for Variety in which he shared his belief that "most of my adult life has been invested in training for the coronavirus pandemic."
"For the first time in modern memory, the entire planet is speaking about the same issue with the same perspective," he wrote. "Doctors on television need to help shape this script. We have the ability to translate dense policy documents, scientific manuscripts and coronavirus mathematical modeling into accessible messaging, using our programs to distribute easy-to-digest recommendations and concerns. Social media helps us reach even larger audiences."
He also wrote that he would continue filming his show "for as long as possible while keeping the safety of my staff and crew top of mind."0comments
"If I am forced to stop educating and encouraging Americans to stand firm in the blistering onslaught of the coronavirus, I will head to my New York-Presbyterian Hospital office," Oz concluded. "Both jobs can save lives, and both need to be manned until the last possible moment."
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