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Coronavirus In Minnesota: Cambria Plant Employees Return To Work With New Safety Measures In Place Monday

LE SUEUR, Minn. (WCCO) -- At Cambria's sprawling flagship plant in Le Sueur, more dayshift workers returned to their jobs today. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic the workforce totaled some 650 employees. On March 27th roughly two-thirds of them were sent home.

"A lot of the things we've put in place have to do with the CDC guidelines," Cambria's V.P of Operations Brian Scoggin said.

One of the biggest recommendations is to monitor body temperatures. Fever is one of the leading indicators of illness.

Scoggin further explained how inside the plant's main entrance, employees stand well apart, in spaces marked in six foot increments.

Then, one by one, they'll line up at a recently installed temperature monitoring station to get cleared to enter the plant.

"All of these things make the employee feel so much more comfortable about coming to work," Scoggin said.

It's the same method employed at Boston Scientific. Workers stand as an overhead camera scans the person's forehead. A nearby computer screen shows a green digitized marker, displaying the person's body temperature to the tenth of a degree.

"It's working very well and employees are thrilled we're doing this. We're helping them understand what their temperature is and what the co-workers temperature is," V.P. of Safety and Risk Management Wendy Hearn said.

If a person's temp is above 99 degrees Fahrenheit, a possible symptom of COVID-19, they're sequestered for more screenings. An oximeter will be placed over a finger to also test their blood oxygen level.

Inside Cambria's lunchroom it's just one person per table. All surfaces that are touched like railings and countertops are constantly cleaned and disinfected.

Meantime, out on the production floor employees are kept well apart. But should the need arise and they have to work in close proximity, they are given masks to wear.

"If you're in an area where you have to work within six feet of an employee, you put that mask on if you're troubleshooting something," Scoggin said.

Call it the new reality – added safety protocols to help bring people, and confidence, back to work.

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