Two Volkswagen workers test positive for COVID-19

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CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) — Volkswagen Chattanooga confirmed Friday afternoon that an employee and a contractor who work at the plant have tested positive for COVID-19.

According to Volkswagen, neither have entered the plant since reporting flu-like symptoms that later turned into the virus. In fact, they haven’t even been to work since the plant’s Sunday reopening.

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Despite the positive cases, Volkswagen remains open.

Volkswagen says neither the employee nor the contractor who have tested positive were in the plant after Friday, May 15. That’s two days before the gradual restart.

Volkswagen says both workers are on medical leave and in quarantine. They won’t be allowed back at the plant until medically cleared.

Nonetheless, the plant says they followed CDC protocols, and deep cleaned any areas that could have been exposed.

In a statement, the plant’s spokeswoman Amanda Plecas says that “all potentially exposed employees were wearing the proper personal protective equipment (PPE).” However, they will all be tested as a precautionary measure.

FULL VOLKSWAGEN STATEMENT:

“ An employee reported mild, flu-like symptoms on Saturday, May 16. A contractor reported flu-like symptoms Monday, May 18. Neither of these individuals have entered the plant since Friday, May 15, prior to reported symptoms and the production restart. All CDC protocols were followed in rapid-response, and all areas that may have been exposed to the affected individuals received an additional deep cleaning and disinfecting. Both individuals later tested positive for COVID-19 and are on medical leave in quarantine for the recommended 14 days. Per protocol, badge access was deactivated for both individuals, and they cannot return to the plant until medical cleared. All potentially exposed employees were wearing proper PPE when around the affected individuals – each has been contacted and tested as a precautionary measure.”

“We follow exactly the CDC guidelines,” Volkswagen Chattanooga President and CEO Tom du Plessis said. “It’s very specific what you have to do. And we will follow it exactly.”

Production continues at the plant, after eight weeks closed. An extensive list of precautionary procedures and social distancing measures have been implemented.

Assembly workers are happy to be back and grateful for the company’s new safety measures.

“We got back to work this week, and it’s been amazing,” assembly line worker April Ziegler said. “Before the shift starts, we clean everything that we touch. And that happens periodically throughout the day. We stop the lines and just clean everything. So that’s pretty awesome. I enjoy that. That makes me feel better about coming to work and not spreading germs.”

Volkswagen joins a number of Tennessee Valley and North Georgia production plants that have remained open despite an employee testing positive for COVID-19.

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Angela joined the News 12 team in November of 2017 as the weekend sports anchor and reporter. Angela is a proud member of an Army family, which means she has hometowns all over the Eastern Seaboard. Most recently, she calls Peachtree City, Georgia, home, where she graduated from Trinity Christian School and spent her free time driving her purple golf cart. She then headed to Milledgeville, Georgia, to attend Georgia College and State University. A proud Bobcat, Angela graduated Summa Cum Laude with a BA in Mass Communication and represented her December 2016 class as one of three valedictorians. Angela comes to the Scenic City from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, where she worked at the NBC affiliate, WMBF News. Before the big move, she worked as Georgia College's Sports Information Assistant, which let her get paid to be the Bobcats' biggest fan. It all started in Savannah, Georgia, though, where she interned for SAV's number one station, WTOC. When she's not working, you can find Angela watching the New York Giants, Rangers or basically any other game that's on. She also loves traveling, hiking and exploring new places, all with her camera in hand. If you have any story ideas, big or small, feel free to reach out to her on Facebook and Twitter, or email her at amoryan@wdef.com."