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North Dakota Mill cleaned, reopened as 10 workers remain quarantined

The cleaning was carried out over the weekend and included a fogging machine to disperse a sanitizing agent over the area.

The North Dakota Mill in Grand Forks
The North Dakota Mill in Grand Forks. Photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald
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GRAND FORKS -- No new cases of COVID-19 are being reported at the North Dakota Mill after it was announced Sunday, April 19, that one employee had tested positive.

The mill reopened Monday after having been closed for a few days to allow for a crew to disinfect the area. Most employees are now back at work, except for about 10 who were working the late shift last week with the person who had tested positive for the virus. Those employees are not being allowed to return to work and are encouraged to undergo testing, according to President and CEO Vance Taylor.

“I believe some have been tested at this point,” said Taylor. “Some but not all, and we don't have any results from those tests as of today.”

The cleaning was carried out over the weekend and included a fogging machine to disperse a sanitizing agent over the area. The mill is essentially on lockdown, and nonessential visitors are not being allowed to enter the buildings. All employees are required to wear masks and gloves. The mill will begin taking the temperature of employees as they come to work, from a distance of about 6 feet.

“There's no close contact between the person taking the temperature and the employees,” Taylor said.

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Taylor also is in self-isolation, after a recent trip outside the state. He did not come into contact with the mill worker who tested positive for the virus. He said the quarantine time period is nearing its end, and he will return to work when it has been completed.

“I had to travel out of state for personal reasons so I'm on quarantine for 14 days just to be sure I didn't pick something up,” Taylor said. “I'm feeling fine and I'm doing well.”

Like most businesses, staff at the mill are doing more cleaning and disinfecting of commonly touched surfaces, and are being reminded to keep their distance from each other. Staff are being encouraged to take the necessary precautions when they are off work.

Taylor said he is following the guidance of public health officials regarding the situation at the mill.

“We're working closely with the North Dakota Department of Health, to be sure that we're doing everything right and keeping our employees safe,” Taylor said.

According to the Department of Health, there have been 13 deaths in the state due to coronavirus. As of 11 a.m. Monday, the department is reporting 138 cases of coronavirus in Grand Forks County, up from Sunday’s count of 133.

The state-owned facility is located on the northern edge of Grand Forks. It is the largest single-location flour mill in the United States.

Related Topics: SMALL BUSINESS
Adam Kurtz is the community editor for the Grand Forks Herald. He covers higher education and other topics in Grand Forks County and the city.

Kurtz joined the Herald in July 2019. He covered business and county government topics before covering higher education and some military topics.

Tips and story ideas are welcome. Get in touch with him at akurtz@gfherald.com, or DM at @ByAdamKurtz.

Desk: 701-780-1110
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