An employee working at Tesla’s Gigafactory Nevada facility has tested positive for COVID-19, according to an email sent to Panasonic employees working on the site. The correspondence was reportedly posted on Sunday, March 29, 2020.
As noted by News4, the afflicted Gigafactory 1 employee was onsite at the Nevada facility for an hour on March 21 before going home sick. The employee has reportedly remained at home since. The email also remarked that the specific production area where the employee worked has no connection with Panasonic’s lines in the facility.
With an employee testing positive for the Coronavirus, Tesla has reportedly activated a safety protocol for the scenario. These protocols include a 14-day quarantine for employees identified by their EHS team, as well as thorough cleaning measures for Giga Nevada. Some of these contingencies may be adapted from Tesla China’s experience with the C-19 virus, which forced a temporary shutdown of Gigafactory Shanghai during the peak of China’s outbreak. Tesla China has successfully battled the Coronavirus so far, with no cases having been publicly reported from Gigafactory Shanghai.
Storey County manager Austin Osborne has recently noted that Tesla’s Gigafactory Nevada facility is reducing its onsite staff by 75%, similar to the Fremont Factory in CA. Meanwhile, Tesla is gearing up to reactivate Gigafactory 2 in Buffalo, NY for the production of ventilators and other pertinent medical equipment, as noted by CEO Elon Musk on Twitter.
Amidst the news of Tesla’s Gigafactory 1 employee, Ford and the UAW have reported that two employees from the veteran automaker’s Dearborn plant have passed away due to the Coronavirus. One employee was reportedly based at Dearborn Stamping, and another was working at the Ford Data Center at Dearborn. Ford spokeswoman Kelli Felker confirmed the news in a statement to The Detroit Free Press.
“We are saddened to report that two Ford team members who worked in Dearborn passed away after contracting COVID-19. It is a tragic reminder that the coronavirus crisis is everywhere and requires the attention of all of us. Our thoughts are with their families, friends, and co-workers during this difficult time. Nothing is more important than the health and safety of our workforce, dealers, customers, and communities. We will continue to follow the guidance from global health experts to do all we can to keep our people healthy,” Felker said.
American automakers are currently working to help support the country’s medical infrastructure. General Motors, for one, recently put hundreds of workers on an urgent project to build ventilators for medical workers. Despite criticism from US President Donald Trump, GM is expecting to start producing ventilators in mid-April, eventually ramping to a rate of 10,000 per month as quickly as it can. GM is currently working with Ventec Life Systems for the project.
Tesla, on the other hand, is working with Medtronic to build ventilators at its Gigafactory 2 facility in New York. In an interview with CNBC, Medtronic CEO Omar Ishrak mentioned that one of his company’s ventilators would be produced by Tesla. “We’re also opening up with other partners who have come forward. Tesla is one that I think people have heard about. One of our ventilators will be made by them, and they’re fast on track to make that as well,” Ishrak said.