The Dr. Oz Show — one of the television programs that most frequently tackled the details of the novel coronavirus — has shut down production, Variety is reporting. The news of the shut down comes after a staff member on the show tested positive for COVID-19.
Initial reporting suggests that the employee who tested positive did not work in the studio where the show films. Instead, they worked in a separate office space in a different building from the studio, which means that Dr. Mehmet Oz and his staff have not been in direct contact with them. Oz has reportedly not had direct contact with the staffer since February, although the report says that the two have had conversations over the phone.
The staffer was reportedly sent home after it was discovered that he had a cough. While he insisted that other than the cough he felt fine, the people behind the show insisted that he stay at home until he receives a test.
“Dr. Oz was the one who insisted he get tested, even though he wasn’t displaying any symptoms. If he had just gone to his normal doctor, the doctor wouldn’t have given him a test or even suggested getting a test, but since he wanted to come back to work, we got him a test,” a source told Variety.
The report also suggests that the staff member has not come into work for over a week as a precaution because of coughing symptoms. Even so, the show decided to halt production after its last in-studio day on Wednesday. Oz, however, plans to continue filming segments from his home.
There’s been no word as to when Dr. Oz will resume in the studio. Even with the production stoppage, the show will still be able to air new content because they have backlogged segments and episodes. While many of these will be pre-taped, Oz will also film a segment at the top of every episode from his home that has the latest news about the coronavirus.
Dr. Oz is just the latest series to halt production as a result of the virus. BuzzFeed News reports that more than 70 shows have already stopped filming new episodes in response to fears over its spread. Like Oz, many of their hosts have begun filming segments from their homes, including Jimmy Fallon and Stephen Colbert, who have both continued to record content even though their shows are no longer airing new episodes.