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Worker at FCA's Sterling Heights Assembly Plant tests positive for COVID-19

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Posted at 7:49 PM, Mar 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-18 04:30:40-04

STERLING HEIGHTS, Mich. (WXYZ) — Fiat Chrysler says an employee at the Sterling Heights Assembly Plant has tested positive for COVID-19.

The company says the employee has not been at the plant for over a week and is receiving medical care.

FCA says employees who may have had contact with the worker have been contacted and instructed to self-quarantine for two weeks.

The company also says:

FCA has been diligent in establishing protocols to prevent the spread of this virus, and to safeguard the health and welfare of our workforce. In addition to participating in the joint UAW-GM-Ford-FCA task force, the Company has also implemented the following actions:

  • Separating working shifts by a minimum of a one-hour at most U.S. assembly plants.
  • Staggering breaks and lunches to increase the distance between people.
  • Arranging seating in the cafeterias and break areas to guarantee proper distance.
  • Increasing housekeeping services in cafeterias, bathrooms, and other high traffic, high use areas, including frequent touch points.
  • Providing materials - spray bottles with disinfectant, rags and gloves - to employees to conduct cleaning and disinfecting protocols at the start and end of each shift.
  • Offering gloves in certain areas.
  • Conducting safety talks and specific training as well as using signage and broadcasts through Andon boards to remind employees of proper preventative protocols.
  • Installing partitions between workstations at some powertrain facilities.
  • Restricting domestic and international travel.
  • Restricting visitors at all FCA facilities.

FCA released this statement on shift pattern changes at its U.S. manufacturing facilities related to COVID-19:

Following several days of proactive discussions with our UAW partners focused on providing a safe environment for our employees, we have agreed that in addition to our extensive current protocols to protect our employees, FCA will implement a series of shift pattern and production changes across our manufacturing plants in the United States. These changes, which include rotating shifts to allow for greater separation of employees and further enhancing our new sanitation protocols, are focused on providing a safe environment and peace of mind to our employees at their place of work. Despite the continuing economic turmoil caused by the COVID-19 outbreak, FCA continues to work on fulfilling a strong North American order book from both fleet and dealer partners.
Following his visits today to multiple company facilities across southeast Michigan, FCA CEO Mike Manley commented: “I spent time today with a number of our employees in our assembly and stamping plants. I wanted to see for myself how we are implementing our new cleaning and workplace protocols, and be assured that we are putting their welfare first as we continue to support the effort to arrest the spread of this virus. Ultimately this will pass, and when it does, it is important to me that we can say we worked hard with our UAW partners to provide the safest work environment for our people."

The City of Sterling Heights released the following statement about the situation:

The city of Sterling Heights received official notice from FCA US LLC (FCA) regarding an employee at the Sterling Heights Assembly Plant testing positive for the COVID-19 virus. FCA has assured the City that all CDC and internal protocols have been implemented to reduce the risk of further transmission of the virus.

While this news is not positive, the City urges residents to remain calm and continue to limit social interaction to the greatest extent possible. This practice is the best defense against transmission of the COVID-19 virus.

Towards this end, the City has closed all of its facilities and municipal operations except for police and fire services. The fact that many Sterling Heights businesses have followed suit will help the effort to slow the progression of the COVID 19 virus. The City continues to partner with other agencies at the federal, state and county level to ensure preparedness for the challenges to be presented in the oncoming weeks.

In addition, the City has established a host of resources on its website at sterling-heights.net/communityinfo. Information includes best practices for stemming community spread of COVID-19, answers to residents’ most frequently asked questions (including how to transact business with the City during this temporary closure) and a list of resources for our business community with important information including workplace COVID-19 protocols and economic injury disaster loan programs to help small businesses during this crisis.

The City is committed and prepared to keep residents safe during this outbreak. Your cooperation is critical to achieving this goal. By working together, we can limit the spread of the COVID 19 virus and ensure that medical resources are able to treat those who are ill as a result. Our thoughts and prayers are with every person who is being treated for the virus.

“We will get through this public health care crisis – but our ability to get through this as quickly as possible depends on all of us working together, caring for each other and following the guidelines and protocols established by medical experts and our state and federal government agencies,” said Mayor Michael Taylor.