CORONAVIRUS

Whirlpool Amana plant remaining closed after more positive coronavirus tests

Workers install compressors and fans on refrigerator units at Whirlpool Amana in Amana in this 2014 photo. (The Gazette)
Workers install compressors and fans on refrigerator units at Whirlpool Amana in Amana in this 2014 photo. (The Gazette)

Whirlpool Corp. said its Amana refrigerator plant will remain closed at least another week, as a result of coronavirus among workers.

The company on Monday said it was notified of additional factory employees with positive COVID-19 tests, though a spokesman did not specify how many.

“We are extending the current production shutdown through the week of March 30,” he said in an email.

In a message to employees, shared on social media, Whirlpool encouraged affected Amana workers to apply for unemployment benefits.

Whirlpool initially closed its Amana facility the evening of March 24 after an employee tested positive for the coronavirus.

Though that employee had not been in the plant since March 17, officials reported close contact with one other employee, who also was sent home, Whirlpool said.

A second employee tested positive for COVID-19, the company confirmed on Friday.

That day, following a deep cleaning, the company had “a limited number” of employees working at its Amana plant, and planned to resume regular operations with the start of its third shift on Sunday.

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Whirlpool employs more than 2,500 people in the Corridor, at facilities in Amana and North Liberty, according to the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance.

The company previously has required employees who are able to work from home to do so, and for those exposed to COVID-19 or living with others under a medically advised quarantine to self-monitor at home for 14 days.

Whirlpool did not immediately provide the numbers of Amana employees working in person compared to remotely.

Comments: (319) 398-8366; thomas.friestad@thegazette.com

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