Collins Aerospace employee quarantined after positive COVID-19 case, other employee concerned

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - One Collins Aerospace employee said she came in contact with an employee who contracted COVID-19 and is quarantining at home.

A sign for Collins Aerospace on their campus in Cedar Rapids on Tuesday, March 24, 2020 (Taylor Holt/KCRG)

"I have been on quarantine since Sunday. They called Saturday night and said don't come in this weekend," Christine Baker said.

Baker's separation from her colleagues isn't putting her mind totally at ease, however.

"I just worry about my coworkers. I worry about everybody. This is unprecedented," Baker said.

The building where Baker works is now closed for deep cleaning. She's glad the company is taking those steps but still worries it's not enough.

"I think Collins could take more precautions. They need to close down manufacturing," Baker said. "I hate to say that from an economic perspective, but from a people standpoint everything I've been seeing on the news about stay away from people or distance yourself, we can't do that there."

In a statement, a Collins spokesperson said they are following guidance from the local health department to protect workers.

What that guidance is is not clear. We reached out to the Linn County Public Health Department to ask what employers like Collins should be doing but did not hear back.

The State Department of Public Health could not answer either.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has guidelines for employers online. It advises separating sick employees, notifying co-workers to self-monitor for symptoms, and performing an enhanced cleaning of the workspace if an employee tests positive for COVID-19.

It also broadly advises employers to encourage social distancing and hygiene "when possible" and to assess essential functions but does not define what those are.

There are no signs of trouble for Baker during her self-isolation, so far.

"I feel pretty decent, but I've also heard you can be a carrier and not even know it," Baker said.

Baker hopes that's enough as she waits and hopes she doesn't develop symptoms.