Employee at FCA Sterling Heights Assembly Plant tests positive for coronavirus (COVID-19)

Employee wasn’t at plant for week


STERLING HEIGHTS, Mich. – An employee at the FCA Sterling Heights Assembly Plant tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19), officials announced Tuesday.

The employee, who hasn’t been at work for a week, is receiving medical care, and co-workers who may have had contact with them have been directed to self-quarantine for two weeks.

UPDATE: FCA suspends production at Sterling Heights Assembly Plant

RELATED: UAW president calls for automakers to close plants due to coronavirus (COVID-19)

The company said the employee’s working area was deep-cleaned.

Other measures implemented by the company include:

  • 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.

The city of Sterling Heights released a statement:

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.

MORE: Here’s which Michigan counties have confirmed cases of coronavirus

How COVID-19 Spreads

Person-to-person spread

The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.

  • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
  • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

Can someone spread the virus without being sick?

  • People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest).
  • Some spread might be possible before people show symptoms; there have been reports of this occurring with this new coronavirus, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

Spread from contact with contaminated surfaces or objects

It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

How easily the virus spreads

How easily a virus spreads from person-to-person can vary. Some viruses are highly contagious (spread easily), like measles, while other viruses do not spread as easily. Another factor is whether the spread is sustained, spreading continually without stopping.

Prevention & Treatment

There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

MORE: Beaumont Health launches coronavirus hotline for patients with symptoms

People who think they may have been exposed to COVID-19 should contact their healthcare provider immediately.

Question about coronavirus? Ask Dr. McGeorge here.

Read more about coronavirus here.