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SE Bend business has COVID-19 outbreak among 5 workers

HR Director explains what happened, and steps moving forward

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ)-- The Oregon Health Authority says five employees at Flex Pak Corporation in Bend have tested positive for COVID-19.

The company, located on Southeast Ninth Street, produces covers for lumber, pallets and other home building supplies.

The outbreak was detected on Sept. 28.

Flex Pak Human Resources Director Janette Goodship said Wednesday there was an isolated incident where an employee contracted COVID-19, and is not sure how.

Another employee contracted COVID-19 from her home environment, came to work with no symptoms and likely spread the virus to other coworkers.
Goodship said employees do work six feet apart, but when operating machinery, they're in close contact.

She said wearing face masks was optional at one point.

"We had for a while, and then after a while, it did slack off a bit, where we were saying if you want to wear a face mask, wear one—if you don't, because it does get hot in there. We are now saying you have to wear one," Goodship said.

Goodship said they have a staff of 47, and that only the night crew employees contracted the virus.

The business does require temperature checks. Goodship said all but one of the employees involved showed no symptoms, that one person had a slight fever.

She said Flex Pak sanitizes equipment regularly and will continue to do so.

"The thing is, we can do everything we can when they're here, like washing hands, keeping a safe distance, wearing face masks, hand sanitizer, and sanitizing equipment," Goodship said. "But when people leave work, we have no control over what they do outside of work."

"That's why we are doing the temperature checks, asking them do they have symptoms, asking them have they been around anyone else that has COVID or has symptoms. I think that's the only thing anyone can do going forward."

Flex Pak does not deal directly with customers, Goodship said, so none were exposed to the employees who contracted the virus.

So far, she said, only one employee has returned to work, and they were cleared by the Health Department.

Bend / Business / Central Oregon / Coronavirus / News / Top Stories
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Arielle Brumfield

Arielle Brumfield is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Arielle here.

Comments

19 Comments

  1. Like the White House being a super spreader event, people catching Covid by ignoring basic hygiene, a mask and a few extra feet.

    Kindergarten children can wash their hands and wear a damn mask, why can’t these morons?

    1. Great question, and typically reports don’t mention the answer. How many in this case actually got sick or were hospitalized? Heck, dang near everybody in the world would test positive at some point. It is a pandemic.

        1. Many, many people have tested positive without being sick at all. I believe they call it asymptomatic. I am not discounting the need for testing. I understand that it can help prevent spread. But, let’s not confuse a positive test with being sick. I feel reporting actual sickness, hospitalizations, and death is much more relevant that an confirmed cases aka positive test.

          1. Actually, they got sick in that they were infected. Whether they got sick enough to show symptoms to a noticeable degree is secondary. And if they are infected (as shown through the positive test) they are infectious. Therein lies the issue – the need to protect others.

            1. For sure, good to know if you have it as to not spread it. As far as infected versus being sick, in my book two different diagnoses. Agree to disagree 🙂 Either way good to know if a person is positive in order to take proper precautions to limit spread, we can all agree on that!

              1. And how “sick” do you need to be in order to be really “sick?” Sniffles? Above normal temperature? Sore throat? Three of five symptoms? Every person reacts differently, and to different degrees. Bottom line though is that if you’re infected, you’re sick.

    2. Just to chime in, a reminder that the “common flu” does not have long term cardiovascular/pulmonary implications, does not lead to blood clotting that can cause strokes, even “mild” covid cases have been shown to do some serious damage. And an education piece: doctors are moving away from ventilator ( not respirator) use unless it is an extremely severe case where the patient cannot breathe for themselves, high flow oxygen has been the preferred treatment due to the high risk involved with vents.

  2. Anyone that has had it in the past is going to test positive according to CDC. So if these people are testing positive without symptoms then these may not be new cases.

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