Formosa Plant Photo

The Formosa Plastic Corporation plant in Calhoun County.

A contractor working at Formosa in Point Comfort tested positive for COVID-19, company officials confirmed Tuesday.

The contractor worked for Bilfinger Westcon, an industrial construction company which regularly works with Formosa.

“Our colleague is in good health, showing only mild symptoms,” said Jennifer Obar, Bilfinger’s marketing communications manager, in a statement. “Following our protocol to ensure the health and safety of our employees, customers and business partners, our colleague is now in quarantine at home.”

Obar said the company was continuing its work at Formosa with staff that has not been in any close contact with the person who tested positive.

“The health and safety of our employees and our partners is out top value,” Obar said. “The situation surrounding COVID-19 is rapidly evolving, and we continue to monitor the developments, locally and globally.”

Bilfinger has instructed employees who may have been exposed to COVID-19 to self-quarantine and work remotely.

Obar said senior staff was ensuring that workplaces were being cleaned and disinfected regularly. She said her company has also included a COVID-19 response plan amendment to the company’s operational manual.

“This provides additional guidance for dealing with COVID-19 in the work environment,” she said.

The case comes less than a week after it was confirmed that a temporary Formosa employee tested positive for the novel coronavirus after leaving the Point Comfort plant more than two weeks ago.

Formosa spokesman Steve Marwitz confirmed Friday that the contract employee left the plant after contracted work was completed and tested positive for COVID-19 more than a week after returning to the person’s country of origin, Taiwan.

Marwitz said Friday that some employees have been sent home out of “an abundance of caution” in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

More than 70 Formosa employees have been sent home for various medical reasons, Marwitz said. The facility’s medical department routinely evaluates employees and may, at any point, send an employee home for health-related issues.

The company has prohibited all business travel and is discouraging personal travel. When applicable, Marwitz said, work schedules have also been modified for some employees to work from home.

Formosa’s operations were identified as critical infrastructure by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security because of the usage of its products.

Polyethylene, polypropylene and polyvinyl chloride resins are used to manufacture different types of medical and personal protective equipment that are in short supply around the globe, including gloves, goggles, aprons and respirators.

The corporation’s bleach is also used to disinfect surfaces, equipment and clothing.

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Morgan O'Hanlon is the business and agriculture reporter for the Victoria Advocate. She can be reached at 361-580-6328, or on Twitter @mcohanlon.

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Morgan covers business for the Victoria Advocate. She was born and raised in Austin, Texas and received her bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Texas at Austin.

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