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COVID-19 forces Amana Refrigeration shutdowns

Infected employee triggers closures and cleaning

AMANA– Whirlpool’s Amana refrigeration plant was shut down on Tuesday, March 24, after an employee had been diagnosed with the COVID-19 virus.
According to Whirlpool spokesman Chad Parks, the individual had not been in the plant since Tuesday, March 17, but did report close contact with one other employee, who was subsequently sent home.
“We are working closely with local health authorities to provide the necessary support for our colleagues and we are wishing them well,” Parks said in response to an email inquiry.
“The health and safety of our employees and the Amana community is our top priority, and out of an abundance of caution we are temporarily closing the Amana facility effective immediately. While the facility is closed, we can continue to further assess if any individuals may have come into close contact with either of the two employees in addition to performing a precautionary deep cleaning of the facility according to CDC guidelines,” he added. Parks declined to say at that time how long the plant would be closed.
On Friday, March 27, Parks said a second case of COVID-19 had been confirmed and Whirlpool was working closely with local health authorities to determine who the employee may have been in close contact with.
“A deep cleaning of the facility was completed today,” Parks said, adding regular operations were planned to resume with the start of the third shift on Sunday, March 29. However, additional infected employees led to an extension of the shutdown through the week of March 30, according to a message sent to employees, who were also encouraged to apply for unemployment benefits.
The Amana facility is one of nine Whirlpool plants in the United States, and at full capacity employs nearly 3,000.