Biogen Staffers Test Positive for Virus After Boston Meeting

Biogen Inc. said three employees have tested positive for the coronavirus after attending a meeting in Boston last week.

The Cambridge, Massachusetts-based drugmaker said in a statement that a number of attendees reported varying degrees of flu-like symptoms after the meeting. Three cases were confirmed as Covid-19 and some others were diagnosed as the flu.

The strategic management meeting hosted about 175 attendees and took place at the Boston Marriott Long Wharf, a company spokeswoman confirmed in an email. The hotel is less than a five-minute walk from historic Faneuil Hall Marketplace and the New England Aquarium.

All individuals are doing well and under the care of health professionals, according to the statement. The company said two of the Covid-19 patients are based in Europe and the third is based in the U.S. outside of Massachusetts.

Biogen said all meeting attendees have been directed to work from home for two weeks, regardless if they have symptoms. Biogen is restricting travel through the end of March to mitigate spread of the virus and plans to monitor the situation.

The company said it has been in regular contact with public health officials since the first cases were reported. The illnesses were reported Thursday evening by local news outlet WCVB-TV.

It appeared to be business as usual Friday morning at the Marriott Long Wharf, which is located next to Faneuil Hall, one of the city’s busiest tourist spots. An employee said health officials were on-site meeting with management and a manager declined to comment. People staying there said they were unaware that virus cases were linked to a meeting at the hotel.

“I didn’t realize they had the conference here,” said a woman from Connecticut who had stayed for one night and declined to provide her name. “What is there to do? Go home and watch for symptoms?”

— With assistance by Janet Wu

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