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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.

Article Topic Follows: Health

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Arielle Brumfield

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


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