Al Roker and Craig Melvin missed Monday morning's Today show after a staffer on the third hour of the NBC talk show tested positive for the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19. According to Variety, employees of NBC News learned of the positive diagnosis Sunday night, and a number of employees, including Roker, 65, and Melvin, 40, opted to take a step back out of an abundance of caution.
"Personal note, for this show: Last night we learned that a colleague of ours on the third hour of Today has tested positive for COVID-19, the novel coronavirus," co-anchor Savannah Guthrie said on Today Monday. "So out of an abundance of caution, Craig and Al have taken the morning off, so we can trace their contacts, see what's going on with them. We promise to keep you posted. Both are fine right now. They feel good. But caution is the order of the day."
We learned late last night a colleague on the 3rd hour of TODAY tested positive for COVID-19.
Out of an abundance of caution, Craig and Al are taking the morning off while we map that colleague’s close contacts. pic.twitter.com/aVHJpMU1Fj— TODAY (@TODAYshow) March 16, 2020
Hoda Kotb added that "we're just trying to play exactly by the rules" and that "we hope and wish that they come back soon."
In a statement shared on Today's website, NBC News president Noah Oppenheim said that the staffer, who has not been named, began experiencing "mild symptoms" and was receiving treatment.
"We are fully supporting our colleague, who is experiencing mild symptoms and receiving medical care, and I know you join me in sending our very best for a quick recovery,'" Oppenheim said.
Oppenheim added that the company is "taking all necessary steps to ensure the health and safety of our teams, which includes multiple deep cleanings of our offices, control room and Studio 1A," where Today is produced.
Additionally, all members of the third hour of Today editorial team were asked to work from home on Monday.
The Today show has already taken a number of precautions amid the coronavirus outbreak. Just last week, Guthrie revealed that moving forward, the show would be filmed without a live audience at their plaza.0comments
"We are missing something that's really important to us on this show and that's our crowd that we normally would show you at this time," she said. "But we are following the guidance of health officials, and we are suspending live audiences here at our plaza — for now — just trying to do our part, but we miss you and we hope to invite you back soon."
A number of talk and game shows have done the same, including Jeopardy! and The View.