JULY 10, 2020 | BY: ELENA DURNBAUGH | BATTLE CREEK ENQUIRER
DENSO confirmed that one employee has died after contracting COVID-19, and 17 others have tested positive for the virus.
Of the employees who tested positive, 13 work at the Battle Creek thermal manufacturing facility, and seven of those cases were confirmed during the last two weeks, according to a company press release. There are 2,900 employees who work at the thermal manufacturing facility.
As the Battle Creek thermal manufacturing facility was ramping up production at the end of May, President Kevin Carson spoke about safety measures in place. In addition to limiting the number of people on-site, the facility has required face masks, conducted thermal and health screenings for all employees and increased cleaning and sanitation.
Carson also said the plant installed plexiglass partitions and employees were practicing social distancing as much as possible. People who are not feeling well have been encouraged to stay home.
“Safety has been first and foremost,” Carson said.
DENSO employees have also tested positive for COVID-19 at the small motors manufacturing facility in Battle Creek, the research and development office in Grand Rapids and the North American headquarters in Southfield, according to the company.
All 17 cases at Michigan facilities were contracted outside of the workplace, Manager for Corporate Communications at DENSO Bridgette LaRose said in an email. The company has worked closely with the Calhoun County and Berry County Health Departments to make that determination, LaRose said.
“We expect all employees to be vigilant with safety practices inside work and encourage them to do so outside of work as well. Our number one concern is our people and their well-being,” LaRose said. “We believe DENSO is an incredibly safe environment for our employees, which is evidenced by our stringent safety practices.”
A third-party company thoroughly cleaned and disinfected all areas where diagnosed individuals worked or had prolonged contact.
DENSO employees nearly 5,000 people at its Michigan facilities.