Presto Products in Lewiston closed for a thorough disinfection on Monday after learning an employee tested positive for COVID-19.
“The safety and health of our employees and customers is our number one concern,” said Katie Porter, a spokesperson for Reynolds, the Wisconsin-based company that owns Presto.
She said the Lewiston plant is expected to resume operations for the evening shift Thursday after the cleaning. Employees who were scheduled to work during the period of closure will be paid for their shifts, Porter said.
The employee who tested positive for COVID-19 hasn’t been in the plant since March 27 due to being on vacation.
“Out of caution, we decided to temporarily close the plant for a complete cleaning. We engaged a professional cleaning company that specializes in this service to ensure our employees have a safe environment when they return,” Porter stated on Wednesday morning.
This is the second case at the facility. The first case was reported on March 26. That person worked with four people. The company asked those four employees, as well as a fifth employee who might have had contact, to go home and isolate themselves, per the directions of the health department. None of those employees developed symptoms of COVID-19.
“The two employees (who tested positive) do not work closely together, so we believe that the cases are not related. Additional cleaning was completed following the first case. Because the first employee only accessed a few areas of the plant, we were able to close off those areas for cleaning without closing the entire plant,” Porter stated.
No other employees had contact with the vacationing second employee who tested positive, so none were asked to quarantine themselves.
“As an essential business, we are following CDC guidelines for prevention, including hand washing, increased cleaning and sanitation, and physical distancing,” Porter stated. Working around food-grade products, the plant already maintains a high-standard of sanitary practices.