Formosa Plastics Corp.

The skyline of Formosa Plastics Corporation in Point Comfort on Wednesday, April 29. 

More than 20 people who work at the Formosa Plastics facility in Point Comfort have tested positive for COVID-19.

Steve Marwitz, a spokesman for the corporation, said 13 Formosa employees on different shifts had tested positive for the coronavirus since the beginning of the pandemic, as well as 11 of contractors’ employees.

Those figures have increased over time, as Formosa works with facilities in Port Lavaca and Victoria to test more employees.

More than 150 had been tested as of Thursday evening, Marwitz said.

In addition, 415 Formosa employees had been quarantined, including 364 who already had returned to work.

Martiz previously said the facility’s medical department quarantines personnel with any COVID-19 symptoms and manages each case before allowing employees to return to work.

Formosa’s medical department has been in operation since 1993 and is staffed by physicians and registered nurses.

Employees have been provided telemedicine at no cost and COVID-19 testing-related care. Marwitz previously told the Advocate that Formosa also adjusted employees’ benefits to further encourage them to report if they are sick and stay home.

The Texas Department of State Health Services has not given Formosa any mandatory guidelines, he said, but the facility is following guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Gov. Greg Abbott’s Office.

Last week, Lara Anton, a spokeswoman for the state health department, said the state was aware of a cluster of 11 cases in four counties associated with the Point Comfort plant and had provided general infection control guidance to Formosa.

She has not responded to any follow-up questions, including which counties the employees who tested positive for COVID-19 reside in, what the risk of exposure is at the plant and why Calhoun County officials were not notified of the cluster by the state.

County Judge Richard Meyer said DSHS Region 8, the county’s public health authority, only notifies the county of cases among residents and not cases among individuals who work within the county or were reportedly exposed within county lines.

“We got a lot of questions, too, but they’re very tight-lipped with their information,” he said.

Kali Venable is an investigative and environmental reporter for the Victoria Advocate. She can be reached at 361-580-6558 or at kvenable@vicad.com.

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Investigative & Environmental Reporter

"I am a Houston native and 5th generation Texan, with a degree in journalism and minor in creative writing from the University of Texas at Austin. I care deeply about public interests and the community I serve.”

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