The GM logo is seen at the General Motors Warren Transmission Operations Plant in Warren, Michigan October 26, 2015. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook
These are the first confirmed cases of coronavirus among the automakers’ U.S. employees. GM, Ford and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV (FCHA.MI) are still operating their U.S. factories normally, while working with the United Auto Workers union to determine how best to keep thousands of hourly employees safe on assembly lines.
The two cases disclosed Tuesday involved workers at technical facilities.
GM said on Tuesday an employee at its Michigan technical center tested positive for coronavirus.
The Warren technical center in suburban Detroit houses about 20,000 employees. The employee who tested positive works at the Cole Engineering Center on the tech center campus north of Detroit.
GM said its medical team is working to speak with co-workers who may have had direct contact with the infected employee, and they will be told to self-quarantine for 14 days.
GM officials learned the employee had tested positive for the highly contagious COVID-19 respiratory illness on Monday, after the company had issued an order that salaried employees should work from home. Access to the Cole building was restricted, and the building was cleaned, GM spokesman Jim Cain said Tuesday.
The head of the UAW’s GM department said in a statement the union is working with GM to inform any UAW members who should be in quarantine.
At Ford, the company said an employee working at a product development office in Dearborn, Michigan was exposed to coronavirus after leaving work several days ago, and was diagnosed before returning to work.
“This person wasn’t at the workplace at that building or any other facility,” Ford spokesman T.R. Reid said Tuesday.
Reporting by Rachit Vats in Bengaluru and Paul Lienert and Joe White in Detroit, Editing by Chizu Nomiyama, Bill Berkrot and Chris Reese