D200326 ge appliances

The GE Appliances Decatur plant, which has 1,300 employees, has temporarily halted production and is being cleaned thoroughly after an employee tested positive for COVID-19. [DAN BUSEY/DECATUR DAILY]

An employee of GE Appliances' Decatur plant has tested positive for COVID-19 and the plant is on a temporary shutdown until Monday, a spokeswoman confirmed today.

“The employee has been quarantined, and we have notified anyone who works in immediate proximity or who is considered a close work contact and asked them to self-quarantine at home,” said corporate spokeswoman Julie Wood.

During the temporary shutdown, the plant is being cleaned thoroughly, she said.

“Already this week, a large portion of the facility has been cleaned using EPA-approved methods,” Woods said. “In addition, external crews are professionally sanitizing high-touch and high-traffic areas. The health and safety of our employees is a priority.”

With 1,300 employees, the plant on Point Mallard Drive Southeast is the largest private employer in a single location in Morgan County, according to the company.

On March 18, the Decatur plant announced that “during this uncertain time of global pandemic” it was moving to one line per shift, on the first, second and third shifts, with plans for all employees to return April 6.

GE Appliances is owned by Haier Group, headquartered in China. Wood in February said the company had stopped all travel outside the U.S.

In a March 13 statement, GE Appliances CEO Kevin Nolan said “we have restricted international and domestic travel, limited visitors to our facilities, and reinforced the importance of appropriate cleaning measures of high-touch areas. We have canceled participation at large meetings and strongly recommended that all employees who can work from home do so.”

The Alabama Department of Public Health reports COVID-19 cases by county of residence and provides no information on the infected person's employer. As of this morning, ADPH reported two cases in Morgan County and six in Limestone County. 

Statewide, there are 283 COVID-19 cases, up 68 from the 215 reported Tuesday morning.

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eric@decaturdaily.com or 256-340-2435. Twitter @DD_Fleischauer.

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