Formosa Plant Photo

 The Formosa Plastic Corporation plant in Calhoun County.

A temporary Formosa employee tested positive for the novel coronavirus after leaving the Point Comfort plant two weeks ago, a spokesman for the corporation confirmed Friday.

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, company official Steve Marwitz said. Formosa did not specify the employee's gender.

"The temporary contract employee is in Taiwan currently with no plans to return to the Point Comfort job site since the job assignment was completed," he said. 

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, some employees have been sent home out of "an abundance of caution," he said. 

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. 

Construction work on the EG2 project also has come to a halt in response to federal and state social distancing recommendations. Marwitz said that decision will be reevaluated as the government updates guidelines.

Formosa has prohibited all business travel and is discouraging personal travel, he said. When applicable, 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.

As of Friday, the plant was managing production to meet the requirements and needs of customers, Marwitz said. 

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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 was born and raised in Houston, but spent many summers and weekends in the Crossroads while growing up. I studied journalism at the University of Texas at Austin, and feel lucky to cover a region I love dearly.

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