… spokespeople for Deere & Co., Pella Corp., General Mills and Tyson Foods said their Iowa plants will continue to hum along…  



Iowa's manufacturers face tough decisions as coronavirus spreads, workers worry about infection


Tyler Jett and Donnelle Eller, Des Moines Register (IA)

March 24, 2020


Kemin Industries is taking the temperature of its production employees.


Literally — twice daily.


To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Des Moines manufacturer of nutritional ingredients for people and animals is taking new precautions. In addition to temperature checks, Kemin is creating more distance between its production employees to reduce the chance of spreading the coronavirus.


“We have taken very protective measures to keep our employees safe and healthy,” Kemin spokeswoman Lauren Burt said.


As some Iowa factory workers have begun to test positive for coronavirus, the state's manufacturers are reaching varying conclusions about what's best for their businesses and employees' health. Some, like Winnebago Industries, Polaris Inc. and Flexsteel Industries, announced temporary closures this week, following the lead of Bridgestone Americas Inc., which sent home the 1,400 employees at its Des Moines plant late last week.


But spokespeople for Deere & Co., Pella Corp., General Mills and Tyson Foods said their Iowa plants will continue to hum along. Production managers at the companies, as at Kemin, will take extra precautions that they hope will keep workers healthy.


Most Collins Aerospace plants also remain open. But the company temporarily shut down one production building in Cedar Rapids this week after an employee there tested positive for COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus. The company closed the building while custodians clean it.


Company spokeswoman Pam Tvrdy-Cleary said the affected employee will stay home for at least two weeks.


"Employees who may have been exposed to that individual will be instructed to self-quarantine at home, and should symptoms arise, seek testing and treatment accordingly," she said in a statement.


After a Corteva Agriscience employee tested positive for coronavirus last week, the company said...