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Electric Boat workforce contends with rising infections

A total of 404 infections have been reported among Electric Boat staff, including 170 in the three weeks leading up to Nov. 13.
Credit: AP
FILE- In this July 30, 2015, file photo, shipyard workers work at General Dynamics Electric Boat in Groton, Conn., prepare a submarine for float-off. Connecticut and Rhode Island officials are celebrating a new submarine contract for General Dynamics Electric Boat as a major economic win for the region's economy. The  $9.47 billion contract with the U.S. Navy, which was announced Friday, Nov. 6, 2020, is for construction and testing of the first two Columbia-class submarines. AP Photo/Jessica Hill, File)

GROTON, Conn. — General Dynamics Electric Boat, the Connecticut-based builder of U.S. Navy submarines, is encouraging more people to work from home as it contends with a surge in coronavirus infections among its workforce.

 A spokesperson for EB told FOX61 that the company has about 17,000 employees and since March, has recorded 434 employees who have reported infection with COVID-19.

The Associated Press reports that the total number of infections includes 170 in the three weeks leading up to Nov. 13.

Officials continued in a statement:

"Many of those reported cases have recovered and returned to work, after clearing through our medical team’s process to do so.  We’ve reported more cases in the last several weeks, which is probably reflective of two things – an increase in positive cases in the communities where EB employees live and our aggressive contact tracing.

Since the beginning of the pandemic earlier this year, we have taken proactive measures to protect our employees.  We provided all employees the opportunity to be tested this summer.  For the first time, we have enabled thousands of employees to work remotely.   In areas where remote work is not possible, we have installed additional sanitizer stations, have provided face masks to employees and encourage social distancing.   We communicate regularly to our workforce about the importance of monitoring for symptoms and staying home when sick.  An appropriate face covering is considered required PPE for all employees, including office personnel.  We’ve increased the frequency of cleaning of common areas and have protocols in place to address each positive reported case, which includes disinfecting workplaces and the contract tracing I mentioned.

Electric Boat leadership communicates regularly to the workforce about new COVID cases, including the location of each case and makes this information available on our intranet and on an app for EB employees and their families called EB Landing (www.eblanding.com).  Our medical team has been tracking this data since the beginning of the pandemic to make sure we are appropriately identifying any emerging clusters."

The Groton-based company employs about 12,000 people in Connecticut, 4,000 in Rhode Island and a small number at shipyards elsewhere in the U.S. Company spokesperson Liz Power says the company has added sanitizing stations and expanded the ability to work from home for workers who do not have to be in the shipyards. 

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