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Already Two Ford Plants Shut Down For Three COVID-19 Positive Cases

Auto and truck production only resumed after the coronavirus shutdowns this Monday. Already in two days not one but two Ford assembly plants in Chicago and Dearborn, Michigan, shut down when three employees tested positive for COVID-19. The Dearborn Truck Plant shut down entirely today and workers were sent home when an assembly worker tested positive for COVID-19. Production at the Chicago Ford plant was stopped Tuesday afternoon and then again overnight when one person on each of those shifts tested positive.

We’ve already got three Ford workers at two plants 300 miles apart testing positive for COVID-19

A pickup truck assembly line with different colored trucks being produced.
Pickup truck assembly line | W. Smith/Getty Images

A Ford spokesman told Automotive News it hoped to restart production at the truck plant tonight. The Chicago plant known as the SHO Center was where two affected workers were discovered. At this plant the workers sequence Explorer and Aviator components that are then sent over to the main plant about one mile away. So here we are right after production resumes and we’ve already got three Ford workers at two plants 300 miles apart that test positive for COVID-19.

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The bad part about this is that the Chicago and Dearborn workers had been checked by a temperature scanner. They were also put through the daily health survey screening process. “The safety of our workforce is our top priority,” Ford spokeswoman Kelli Felker said. “When two employees who returned to work this week tested positive for COVID-19, we immediately notified people known to have been in close contact with the infected individuals and asked them to self-quarantine for 14 days. We also deep cleaned and disinfected the work area, equipment, team area, and the path that the team member took. Chicago Assembly is now running.”

Ford makes available testing for symptomatic employees but not those without symptoms

Ford Truck Assembly Plant | Getty-00
Ford Truck Assembly Plant | Getty

Testing for symptomatic employees is performed and paid for by Ford but not for those without symptoms. So it is unclear how these two individuals made it into the plant with a later positive test result.

Here is the UAW’s statement about the test, “The UAW continues to aggressively monitor the implementation of health and safety protocols to protect our members their families and the community.” 

At this point, all of the assembly lines will keep rolling

Workers assemble cars at the newly renovated Ford's Assembly Plant in Chicago
Workers assemble cars at the newly renovated Ford’s Assembly Plant in Chicago | JIM YOUNG/AFP/Getty Images

All of the assembly lines will keep rolling at this point. It is unclear what the manufacturers will do if there continue to be more cases popping up. Ford was quick to add that these cases did not originate at the plant. Last month part of the discussion about returning led Ford to announce it would make testing available for all employees. So far, that is still in the works.

Since these three workers were obviously asymptomatic Ford should step up their offer to test all employees. These workers were from two different plants affecting three shifts. So if each infected a number of other employees that means two plants and three shifts were immediately exposed. With how contagious the coronavirus is it would not take long to infect an entire plant’s workers, but then you knew that.