LA GRANDE — A La Grande-based business has confirmed that some of its workers contracted the new coronavirus, but the emergence of the virus has not prevented the business from moving forward in its own reopening plan.
Northwood Investments, the parent company to both Outdoors RV and Northwood Manufacturing, stated in a press release Tuesday it has had five confirmed cases of COVID-19 at its Outdoors RV facility, but there have been no cases at Northwood Manufacturing. According to the release, all five of the confirmed cases were contracted outside of work and the individuals who tested positive are in quarantine.
Northwood in the release said it has taken steps recommended by health authorities at the state and local level to ensure the health of its workers, including a daily temperature scan and a safety survey prior to beginning work. Those who fail either are asked to return home and monitor their situation, and to “seek testing, and/or medical assistance as it necessary and keep us apprised,” the release stated. The company has applied the same requirements to employees who have shown symptoms of COVID-19 or who have been potentially exposed to a carrier of the virus.
The company’s Phase 3 of reopening was to bring back all employees on its assembly line, which Lance Rinker, director of purchasing and marketing for Northwood, said took place June 1. It had moved into a second phase, bringing initial workers back, May 18.
Each plant employed about 240 individuals prior to the coronavirus pandemic, Rinker said. Attendance at each location has bounced between about 200 and 225 since the company’s Phase 3 was implemented. That variation in range includes individuals who don’t yet feel safe returning for health reasons or who perhaps had returned but since have been potentially exposed and are quarantining. About 15 at each location are not returning, Rinker said.
Some of those who are in self-quarantine, Rinker said, attended gatherings or events at Lighthouse Pentecostal Church in Island City, which health authorities pegged as the source of at least 236 of the cases in Union County. Rinker added that, to his knowledge, those who may have been exposed self-quarantined once they realized they were at risk and were encouraged to do so.