More workers at Rumford paper mill test positive for coronavirus
RUMFORD, Maine (WMTW) - More employees at the ND Paper mill in Rumford have tested positive for coronavirus, mill officials said Thursday.
A total of 16 employees have tested positive for the virus, which is an increase from the five reported on Tuesday.
The union representing hundreds of employees said the number of cases could grow as hundreds of workers await COVID-19 test results.
“This is not good. I’m not happy,” union President Gary Hemingway said.
Gary said many more people are impacted as they have health conditions or have needed to quarantine.
“We have like 75 to 80 people out of work right now,” Hemingway said.
He added that the number of employees impacted by the virus could come at a great cost for the mill.
“If we don’t have enough personnel to run the equipment that makes paper, we will be shutting down for a period of about a month. That’s what we were told today,” Hemingway said.
A spokeswoman for ND Paper said the situation is still evolving and many options for the mill are under consideration.
In March, the company said it implemented stringent requirements for employees and added a mask mandate in May.
ND Paper has worked with Rumford Hospital to test more than 600 employees for the virus.
Hemingway provided an update on some of the workers who have tested positive.
“I know they’re not doing well. A few of them have small symptoms, then all of a sudden something else will start. The headache or congestion or headache will start,” Hemingway said.
Hemingway is urging all members of the community to follow protocols to limit the spread of the virus.
“You’re killing us. You’re putting me and everybody else out of work. Not just in the mill but in the community, and people are gonna die. It’s not funny. You don’t want to wear a mask, you’re the idiot, but you’re hurting us,” Hemingway said.
Hemingway said he is awaiting the results of his COVID-19 test.
“I’m hoping to be well. I’ve got a wife at home who’s not well. I don’t need to bring it home,” Hemingway said.
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