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4 Test Positive for COVID-19 at Dow Plant in Louisiana

March 25, 2020
Four workers have tested positive for the novel coronavirus at Dow's plant in Plaquemine, LA. Image courtesy of Dow
Four workers have tested positive for the novel coronavirus at Dow's plant in Plaquemine, LA. Image courtesy of Dow

Three contract workers have tested positive for the novel coronavirus COVID-19 at Dow Chemical’s petrochemical plant in Plaquemine, LA this week, bringing the total number of cases reported at the facility to four, the Baton Rouge Advocate reported Tuesday. 

The first worker who tested positive earlier this month is an employee of Specialty Welding Services (SWS) who worked in the Dow plant’s LHC unit from March 2 to March 11, coverage by television news station WAFB said. After the worker’s infection was reported, Dow implemented a pandemic response plan at the Plaquemine facility to ensure that “business critical work” continues at the site.

“We are not intending to ‘lock in’ personnel at this time due to the nature of the virus. For this to be effective, we would need to lock in essential personnel for an extended period of time and we do not believe that would have a positive impact on our people and their families,” said a post on the Dow Louisiana Operations page on Facebook.

The company noted that shutting down production units safely can take up to two weeks, and that the process requires certain environmental health and safety procedures. Safely starting up production units also requires additional workers and protocols. 

Some other changes made at the site include restrictions on visitors, serving to-go box lunches at the plant’s cafeteria, and monitoring workers’ temperatures as they enter the facility.

Also this week, Dow announced that it is altering its production processes to facilitate the production of hand sanitizer at a US facility and a plant in Stade, Germany. 

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