OGDEN — One of Ogden's largest employers shut down a portion of its operation last week after a pair of workers tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
Autoliv temporarily suspended work at its airbag manufacturing site in Ogden last week after two employees there tested positive for COVID-19, according to Tom Hajkus, communications manager at Autoliv's North American headquarters in Auburn Hills, Michigan.
Hajkus said the company shut down the site immediately after being notified of the positive tests. The area was disinfected and the two employees were sent home, to be under quarantine for 14 days. Hajkus said employees who may have come in contact with the two positive cases are also being asked to quarantine for 14 days, as a precautionary measure.
On Monday afternoon, the other employees showed no symptoms, said Hajkus, who added that the company is closely monitoring the situation.
The Weber-Morgan Health Department says Autoliv followed proper protocol for handling the positive tests.
"During the course of tracing the contacts of one of our COVID-19 cases, we became aware that a local business took steps to close down operations for cleaning and disinfecting," Heath Department spokeswoman Lori Buttars said in a statement. "It's not uncommon for businesses to proactively work to prevent the spread of disease and we applaud them for taking quick action."
Last week, the health department issued a public health order that details how local businesses are to handle the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Signed on March 18 by Weber-Morgan Health Officer Brian Bennion and Christopher Crockett, chief civil deputy at the Weber County Attorney's Office, the order requires that all Weber and Morgan county businesses comply with a host of new regulations, effective immediately.
The order calls for business to implement social distancing measures maintaining worker separation of 6 feet in all areas, encourage employees to work remotely if possible, require that sick employees must stay home, have cleaning measures in place for credit card transactions (cash transactions are discouraged), exclude patrons who show symptoms of illness, and post signage approved by the health department that advises patrons of COVID-19 protocols.
Buttars did not name Autoliv, but said that after disinfecting, the health department deemed it safe for some employees to return to work — so long as staff was educated on COVID-19 prevention protocols. The health department will not disclose the names of businesses that have employees who test positive for COVID-19, unless the illness is widespread there, according to Buttars.
Ogden Mayor Mike Caldwell said he's heard of several local businesses voluntarily shutting down some portion of their operations and/or requiring employees work remotely. On Monday he said one of Ogden's largest single-site employers, MarketStar, had required most of their employees work from home.
"That's really what we need right now," Caldwell said. "For people to be proactive."