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COVID-19 cluster found at Fonda factory

Jacquie Slater
Updated: June 29, 2020 06:07 PM
Created: June 29, 2020 04:58 PM

An aluminum plant in Montgomery County remains closed as the number of employees who tested positive for COVID-19 has doubled since first reported last week. There were 77 positive cases at Keymark Corporation in Fonda as of Monday afternoon.

Only eight out of those 77 cases live in Montgomery County.

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They are still waiting for more test results to come in. So for now this plant remains mostly closed.

Montgomery County Executive Matthew Ossenfort says there are 573 of the 681 people who work at Keymark have been tested so far.

"Identify, do the tracing, and then isolate. That's the way you box in the virus," Ossenfort said.

Ossenfort says the first positive case at the plant was identified on June 16.

Extensive contact tracing shows links to other known COVID-19-positive locations in Oswego County. However, the exact origin hasn’t been identified yet.

Officials say the bulk of the spread seems to have started with one particular shift at the plant with employees known to keep in close contact both in and out of work.

"The majority of these cases are from the city of Utica. These are folks that live together, work together, commute together, socialize together," Ossenfort said. "In those situations, a small spark can create a fire and that's what happened here."

NewsChannel 13 reached out to Keymark for comment, but our calls have gone unanswered.

Ossenfort says the state Department of Health and the county health department have toured the facility and say extensive protective measures are in place.

As for when the plant can fully reopen, at this point it's a wait and see.

"I will say they've been very cooperative and, you know, the public health crisis and the right thing will take precedence over the economics," Ossenfort said.

There are still 108 outstanding Tests. So these numbers could fluctuate in the next day or two as those results trickle in.


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