April 9, 2020 – Gulfstream Aerospace’s corporate communications team has provided their latest update today on the status of their operations, their efforts to protect their workforce from the COVID-19 virus, and updates on any incidents of employees infected in their workforce. The company is deemed a 'critical workforce' by U.S. Homeland Security.
Here’s the company’s latest statement as of 5 p.m. today:
“We recently confirmed that an employee in our Westfield, Massachusetts, facility was diagnosed with coronavirus. Our thoughts are with the employee and their loved ones.
Because of this diagnosis, we have temporarily closed several areas where the affected employee spent time. We also told the employees in those areas to remain home to self-quarantine and self-monitor. We will work to mitigate any spread of the virus by thoroughly cleaning and disinfecting the areas before they reopen later this month.
The company has several Savannah employees who have tested positive.
At two of General Dynamics’ sister companies, they are using their 3D printers to produce adapters for a Canadian clinic trial examining whether CPAP/BiPAP machines can be converted to usable ventilators, and using the company is using their 3D Labs to print manufacturing tension-release bands for surgical masks. The coastal Georgia health director will support distribution to local hospitals.
“Since news of the coronavirus emerged, we have proactively implemented disease-mitigation measures recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO). We have restricted company travel, moved as many employees as possible to remote work, implemented social distancing measures, established on-site temperature screenings, provided on-site employees with personal protective equipment, limited the number of visitors and people entering our facilities, increased the frequency and intensity of facility cleanings and encouraged employees to stay home if they feel unwell.
“Many of our facilities remain operational in accordance with identification of aviation as critical infrastructure by the Department of Homeland Security’s Cyber & Industrial Security Agency (CISA).
“Per CISA, the business sectors defined as critical infrastructure are “… so vital to the United States that their incapacitation or destruction would have a debilitating effect on security, national economic security, national public health or safety, or any combination thereof.” “Guidance from the U.S. president notes that critical infrastructure industries have a “special responsibility” to maintain a normal work schedule during the global COVID-19 outbreak.
We continue to closely monitor this situation and will implement additional measures as necessary to protect our employees, customers, suppliers and communities,” explains the company.
Earlier this week, Gulfstream Aerospace announced that they were “committed to supporting the communities in which we live and work by donating supplies and making financial contributions to hospitals, governments and non-profit organizations on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
To help address the shortage of medical supplies, the company has already donated 3,500 N95 masks and more than 3,100 protection suits to U.S. hospitals and public health organizations. And, the company provided more than $60,000 to Savannah-based organizations working to assist those in need during these unprecedented times.
To support other Gulfstream communities, donations are also being made in Dallas; Long Beach, California; and Appleton, Wisconsin.
On Monday, Gulfstream confirmed that an employee in their St. Louis (Cahokia, Illinois) facility tested positive for the coronavirus. Because of that confirmed case, they temporarily closed the hangar where the employee worked and told the employees there to remain home to self-quarantine and self-monitor. They added that they were working to mitigate any spread of the virus by thoroughly cleaning the facility before it reopens later this month.
Two weeks ago, on March 27, the company confirmed that a Savannah-based employees had tested positive for the coronavirus. They stated that the employee was receiving medical care. No further information on that individual’s health or outcome has been released by the company.
Gulfstream’s Savannah Operations
Most of Gulfsteam’s manufacturing and service facilities in Savannah remain operational in accordance with identification of aviation as critical infrastructure by the Department of Homeland Security’s Cyber & Industrial Security Agency (CISA).
Two of the Savannah-based manufacturing facilities are temporarily closed after the company confirmed that employees working in the facilities had tested positive for coronavirus. The facilities will be thoroughly cleaned to mitigate any spread of the virus before reopening later this month.
Out of an abundance of caution, they sent all the employees who worked in the two facilities home and asked them to self-quarantine and self-monitor.
“We have also provided a series of options for employees who are in self-quarantine, have jobs that cannot be done virtually or don’t feel comfortable with their current work arrangement. These include using paid personal business, paid vacation or unpaid time, or extending their unpaid leave,” stated Heidi Fedek, today, Director of Corporate Communications.
“When news of the coronavirus first emerged, we retained the services of an infectious disease doctor, who is a Harvard Medical School graduate, to review all of our worker safety measures. He is a member of the company’s internal COVID-19 steering committee, which has been meeting daily, and participates in all medically related COVID-19 decision-making. We are also coordinating closely with the Georgia Department of Public Health and its Department of Epidemiology,” she added.
They’ve also taken a number of steps that may be instructed for other companies still operating. Gulfstream has:
- Advised employees of social distancing best practices
- Reallocated employees across shifts to create more distance
- Increased manager floor walks to enforce social distancing
- Prohibited gatherings at toolboxes and other locations
- Removed tables and chairs from break rooms and staggered breaks to reduce the number of employees in a break room at any one time
- Limited employees in the workplace through remote work
- Suspended visitor access at service centers
- Limited travel between buildings.