Tesla workers test positive for coronavirus at California plant


Tesla and Alameda County reached an agreement in May that would allow the company to restart production if it respected strict social distancing and took extra precautions to avoid exposing workers to the disease. The factory employs around 10,000 workers, who are spread over several shifts and are now required to wear masks and limit contact with others in break rooms, for example, while keeping enough space between them when ‘They work with heavy machinery to produce electric cars. .

As part of the deal to allow Tesla to reopen on May 18, Tesla is expected to report all positive cases to the Alameda County Department of Public Health. But because Tesla restarted production a week earlier, there could have been cases that were never reported to the county because Tesla was “not required to report known cases directly” before the agreement, said county officials.

There have been no work-related infections among county residents associated with Tesla, county spokeswoman Neetu Balram said in an email. In the past week, “if a person tested positive and was not a resident of Alameda County, it may not be reported to us,” she added.

The reopening and subsequent coronavirus cases follow weeks of tension over public health. Musk first challenged the rules in March by keeping the plant open before local officials said that Tesla’s production of vehicles was not essential and had to stop. Musk tweeted “FREE AMERICA NOW” in April before embarking on a lay rant during the company’s call for quarterly results, calling quarantine measures “fascists” just after he worried about the impact of the production stopped on the company’s finances. In early May, Tesla sued the county and Musk threatened to recover and move the company based in Palo Alto, California, Texas or Nevada. He followed this up by publicly defying order and opening the factory, daring to stop the officials, and eventually winning the support of President Trump.

The worker, in the separate building of Tesla’s main plant, said those affected included one from Tesla’s morning shift and one from his evening shift. The worker expressed concern over the perceived lack of caution on the production line.

Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment. A message for Laurie Shelby, vice president of environment, health and safety at Tesla, was not returned. Contacted by phone, Tesla’s company doctor James Craner declined to comment on the story.

Some workers described an environment of uncertainty and fear around the restart of production, noting how some of their production lines could disappear for two weeks without explanation – a likely effect of the extreme precautions taken for anyone who develops symptoms.

“No social distancing at all when pointing [because] people are … in a rush to go home or go back to their work stations, “the seat assembly person said in a text message. Regarding social distancing, the worker stated that the management “said nothing to the partners [because] they don’t either. “

As for the changes: “It looks like nothing but with a mask,” said the worker.

The worker said three people who were quarantined due to potential exposure returned to work, but those who tested positive did not return to the line.


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