After Elon Musk called stay-at-home orders 'fascist,' a worker in a reopened Tesla factory reportedly tested positive for COVID-19

Tesla's factory in Buffalo, New York.Brendan McDermid / Reuters

A worker at Tesla's factory in Buffalo, New York, tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, The Verge reported on Tuesday.

The employee is the fourth known Tesla worker to test positive for COVID-19, The Verge said. They are the first employee at these plants to report that they've become sick since CEO Elon Musk reopened Tesla factories nationwide in May.

The Buffalo factory, which reopened on May 19, is operated by SolarCity, Tesla's solar-energy subsidiary. Typically, the factory employs about 1,500 people, but nearly 1,000 employees have been furloughed during the pandemic, Buffalo Business First reported last week.Advertisement

A Tesla representative did not respond to Business Insider's request for comment on the Buffalo case or on whether the company intended to close the factory again.

Musk has fought amid the virus-related shutdowns for his company's factories to continue production, something that critics said would put workers at risk. Musk called lockdown orders "fascist" in a quarterly earnings call with investors on April 29.

Of course, such lockdown orders, while intended to save lives during the historic pandemic, prevent Musk's companies from building rockets, spaceships, cars, and solar panels, as Business Insider previously reported.
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In mid-May, Musk sent Tesla workers in California to work in defiance of the stay-at-home orders in the state. Some workers told Business Insider that they feared they would be fired if they refused to return.

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