CEDAR RAPIDS — Two Collins Aerospace employees working at the company’s C Avenue facility in Cedar Rapids have been quarantined off-site for 14 days after showing symptoms similar to those of COVID-19.
The two employees “did not meet public health guidelines” to be tested for the coronavirus, Collins Aerospace said in a Wednesday email to employees, shared to Facebook Thursday morning.
Even so, the company has identified and notified other workers who were in close proximity to the affected individuals — within six feet for more than 30 minutes — and has required them to stay home for 14 days, too.
Collins Aerospace’s email encouraged employees to continue practicing social distancing and “strong” personal hygiene, adding, “... ultimately, if you are not feeling well — stay home.”
In an emailed statement, Collins Aerospace spokeswoman Pam Tvrdy-Cleary said, “We are committed to applying (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and appropriate medical/public health protocols as they evolve.”
“Currently, if an employee tests positive or is presumed positive by their doctor for COVID-19, he or she will be instructed to seek medical treatment and required to remain off-site for a period of at least 14 days, and can only return to work after being symptom-free for 72 hours,” she said.
“Employees who may have been exposed to that individual will be instructed to self-quarantine at home, and should symptoms arise, seek testing and treatment accordingly. In addition, workplace areas with which the employee may have been in contact, including common areas, are thoroughly cleaned according to appropriate cleaning protocols.”
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Tvrdy-Cleary said she could not comment on when the employees began showing symptoms or were quarantined, whether they had any known travel history or contact with a COVID-19 patient, citing privacy concerns.
In its initial response to the COVID-19 outbreak, Collins Aerospace suspended all non-essential business travel — with remaining “essential” travel encompassing trips required to keep the business operating smoothly and cases of critical customer need, Tvrdy-Cleary told The Gazette earlier this week.
Independently of the two employees quarantined, Collins Aerospace instituted further restrictions Wednesday, suspending all business travel outside “very, very few exceptions” approved by the company’s executive leadership, Tvrdy-Cleary said Thursday.
Parent company United Technologies Corp. previously suspended all business travel to or through China, Hong Kong, Macao, South Korea, Italy and Iran.
Collins Aerospace has allowed employees who are able to telecommute to work from home.
As to whether the company could require that all employees who are able to work remotely do so, Tvrdy-Cleary said earlier this week, “The situation is evolving daily, so we’re continuing to analyze all possibilities.”
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