How do you keep a vital business running in the middle of a pandemic?
Dow Inc. is in the middle of that battle now as it works to turn out polyethylene and thermoplastic elastomers used in personal protective equipment such as medical gowns and gloves from its Plaquemine, La., plant even as the COVID-19 pandemic rages around it.
Four Dow employees at the site have tested positive for COVID in the past week. Louisiana has been a hotbed of infections. The Louisiana Department of Health says it registered another 510 cases between noon on March 25 and noon on March 26. It now has a total of 2,305 cases.
Even more vital for the resins Dow makes, as of midday on March 26, the state had 676 COVID-19 patients hospitalized and 239 of them required ventilation. That's up from 491 hospitalized 24 hours earlier and 163 needing ventilation.
To keep up production while also working to limit the virus's spread, Dow is not only sanitizing surfaces and limiting access to the plant, but also employees must have their temperature checked at the start of each shift. Frank Esposito has more.