Large Warner Bros. Covid Outbreak Grows Even As L.A. Infections Drop – Deadline

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UPDATED: While daily Covid cases across L.A. County have plummeted by 50% in the past week, the outbreak at Warner Bros. has continued to grow, according to the Public Health Department’s dashboard.

What started out as an outbreak of 31 cases on July 11 has, in the past three weeks, more than doubled to 67 infections on the massive Burbank lot. It’s by far the biggest showbiz outbreak of the pandemic that we’re aware of, and we’ve been watching the numbers fairly closely.

The first cases were officially recorded on the lot July 11. There were 31 of them. Two days later, the number had grown to 43. About a week later, the number of infections at the studio was 53. Now, after about 10 more days, the number is 67.

There could be a lag time between infections, the reporting thereof and when the county dashboard finally reflects the reporting, but it is updated daily and the count for the lot was still 53 last week.

The studio has seen smaller outbreaks, mostly in the range of 3-5 cases. In May its Bldg 128 had a cluster of 5 cases while Stages 27 and 29 also saw 5 cases.

Deadline reached out to Warner Bros. again today and will add any comment we receive.

For perspective, the next-highest Industry-related outbreak we’re aware of took place at Lionsgate, also in May, when the studio saw 21 infections. More than half of those were among employees returning from CinemaCon in Las Vegas. Warners did have a fairly sizable footprint at Comic-Con about 10 days ago, but tying that sojourn to the increase in cases would be pure speculation.

Also on the workplace outbreaks list this week are 24 cases attributed to Sony Pictures Studios, 11 infections at L.A. Center Studios, 26 at the Cinemark in Lancaster and a whopping 46 people sick at Crypto.com Arena. That facility also saw 61 infections at the peak of the first Omicron wave in January.

PREVIOUSLY on July 13: The sizable Covid-19 outbreak at Warner Bros. has led to a dozen more infections since Deadline first reported it on Monday. At that time, there were 31 Covid-positive employees hit by the outbreak. By today, however, that number had grown to 43, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health web site. The cluster is the largest of the pandemic at a studio or network, per Deadline’s tracking, and the fourth-largest at any non-residential setting in the county at the moment.

The outbreak comes at a time when the BA.5 variant is pushing daily cases and test positivity to levels not seen since January. And experts say the current numbers are vast undercounts, given that many Angelenos now use at-home test kits, the results of which are not officially reported.

As a result of the surge, L.A. is on the verge of entering the CDC’s “High” community Covid level tomorrow, which indicates a worrying level of stress on the healthcare system. If the county stays at that level for two weeks, health department officials have said they will reimplement indoor public masking requirements.

Deadline reached out to Warner Bros. and will add any comment we receive.

PREVIOUSLY on July 11: Los Angeles County’s daily tally of new Covid cases has topped 8,000 for the first time since January and, like many local industries, Hollywood is not immune.

Warner Bros. has recorded what may be the biggest showbiz outbreak of the pandemic, with 31 employees listed as infected on the official L.A. County Public Health Department web site. The studio has seen smaller outbreaks, mostly in the range of 3-5 cases. In May its Bldg 128 had a cluster of 5 cases while Stages 27 and 29 also saw 5 cases.

The next-highest Industry-related outbreak we’re aware of took place at Lionsgate, also in May, when the studio saw 21 infections. More than half of those were among employees returning from CinemaCon in Las Vegas.

Other notable outbreak sites include The Walt Disney Company, which is currently listed with six infections. Fox Sports, which has appeared on the list multiple times, now has a tally of 10. In May, Fox Sports and Fox Sports Deportes had more than a dozen cases.

Speaking of sports, the Dodgers now have their second 10-case outbreak of the pandemic, while Crypto.com Arena is listed with 7 infections. By comparison, Crypto.com recorded 61 infections at the peak of the first Omicron wave in January.

Experts say any official case numbers across the board are likely undercounts due to the widespread use of at-home test kits, the results of which are rarely reported.



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