Ford denies COVID-19 outbreak allegations, unsafe conditions at Avon Lake assembly plant

AVON LAKE, Ohio – While some employees at Ford’s Ohio assembly plant in Avon Lake have tested positive for COVID-19, rumors of a widespread outbreak at the plant are exaggerated, according to health officials.

A recent anonymous post on Avon-Avon Lake Nextdoor, a hyperlocal neighborhood social network, alleged that COVID-19 cases were “duplicating daily” at the plant, where Ford did “little or nothing” to protect workers, and social distancing and cleanliness. the guidelines were not followed.

In a statement, Ford said all of its facilities follow safety protocols to help stop the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace.

Four employees at the Ford plant have tested positive for the disease, and “a handful” of people with whom they had close contact are quarantined at their home, said Dave Covell, health commissioner for Lorain County Public Health. The contact trace showed that the disease is not spreading in the plant.

“The cases are associated with other settings in the community,” Covell said. “None are associated with the spread at Ford.”

He explained using a hypothetical situation in which a person develops COVID-19 and transmits the disease to their spouse, who works at the Ford plant. In that case, the disease did not spread in the workplace, Covell said.

“There is no spread there as far as we can see,” he said.

Workers who have been quarantined are asked to stay home for 14 days if they have no symptoms, he said.

In an emailed statement, Ford said it was aware of employees who tested positive for the disease, but that it has safety protocols. The Avon Lake plant has about 1,740 employees, according to Ford.

“Working closely with the UAW and outside experts in infectious diseases and epidemiology, we developed safety protocols to help stop the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace, which we follow at all Ford facilities worldwide,” a spokeswoman based in Dearborn, Michigan, said in an email. “While we know the employees who tested positive for COVID-19, no one identified as a close contact who followed our protocols developed symptoms or tested positive for the virus. This indicates that our workplace safety protocols are working. ”

Covell confirmed that adequate security protocols are followed at Avon Lake. “We have found no evidence to the contrary,” he said.

Nextdoor’s complaint is the only one the health department has received about the auto plant, he said.

Lorain County residents who wish to file a complaint about a business or workplace where the COVID-19 guidelines do not apply can call the Lorain County Board of Health at 440-322-6367, or visit the website to find out how to send an email to the agency.