DETROIT — Production at Ford Motor Co.'s Chicago Assembly Plant was briefly halted Tuesday afternoon and again overnight after two workers at the site's SHO Center tested positive for COVID-19.
The incident is the first known issue at Ford since the automaker restarted production at most of its North American assembly plants Monday.
The SHO Center, named for the Taurus SHO performance sedan that used to be built in Chicago, sits about a mile from the main plant. Workers there sequence the parts that go into the Explorer and Aviator crossovers.
The two employees had made it through Ford's temperature scanner and daily health survey screening process. It was not immediately clear how Ford became aware they were sick or where they were tested for the virus.
"The safety of our work force is our top priority," Ford spokeswoman Kelli Felker said in a statement. "When two employees who returned to work this week tested positive for COVID-19, we immediately notified people known to have been in close contact with the infected individuals and asked them to self-quarantine for 14 days.
"We also deep cleaned and disinfected the work area, equipment, team area and the path that the team member took. Chicago Assembly is now running."
Felker said the employees did not contract the virus while at work. Ford previously said it would offer testing to symptomatic employees in metro regions, including Chicago, where it has assembly plants.
“The UAW continues to aggressively monitor the implementation of health and safety protocols to protect our members their families and the community,” union spokesman Brian Rothenerg said in a statement.
Ford last month said it would not have testing available for its entire work force by the time most North America factories reopened, but it's working to offer that in the coming months.
The CBS television affiliate in Chicago reported on the situation late Tuesday.