COVID-19 Quarantine at our Facility

To Our Kind, Generous FDN Family,
I am devastated to inform you that earlier this evening on April 1st, I was made aware that the husband of one my employees (who has not been at work since March 26th) had been diagnosed with COVID-19.  Based on discussions with health care professionals, the preventative measures that we have in place, and our cleaning process, the likelihood that any masks that we have made are contaminated is extremely low. It is our duty to disclose the facts to you, and particularly to those that have received masks, so that they can be informed and make the right decisions for them and their families. Those 18 individuals have been contacted separately, and delivery of our donated masks will be stopped immediately, and each facility will be contacted in the morning.
The timeline of what happened is as follows:
  • Saturday March 21 - The husband of one of my employees started feeling symptoms and went to Emergency on March 24th.  On the 24th, he was tested for COVID-19 and discharged. My employee failed to disclose potential health issues of her husband.  She displays no symptoms of COVID-19 and continues to work.
  • Thursday March 26 - Husband’s test results returned as positive for COVID-19, but we are not informed of this result until this evening (April 1st)
  • Friday March 27 - Employee does not come to work, says she is packing.
  • Monday March 30 +Tuesday 31 - Employee is moving her home and absence is expected.
  • Wednesday April 1 - Employee fails to return to work and does not communicate throughout the day, until upon further questioning this evening, she finally reveals that her husband had tested positive for COVID-19. She is in self-quarantine with her family.
  • Throughout the entire time at work (March 23 - 26) my employee showed no signs/symptoms of COVID-19 at work. She says she still displays no symptoms, but she has not been tested.
At this point, it has been 6 days days since this employee has been at work, and no one else in the shop feels any symptoms. We have had a total of only three people working since the employee was last on site (me, Duey and Kathy), and none of us (nor anyone in our families) is showing any symptoms. This is a promising sign.
Firstly, I would like to reassure you that the affected employee did not handle ANY masks that were delivered on yesterday or today (March 31st & April 1st) and that she has not been at work since March 26.  Secondly, prior to delivery, each mask was:
  • Washed with bleach and detergent, dried, and then put into a sterilized box. 
  • Steamed on our high pressure + temperature commercial steamer.  Since the steamer is pressurized, the temperature reached by the steamer is very high (>150 degrees C).
  • After they are steamed and pressed, they are placed into another sterilized box and then packed into the plastic baggies and sealed. 
  • Throughout the entire process, the person handling the masks is wearing a mask, with clean hands and does not display any symptoms.
  • All of the masks that went out were washed, steamed and sealed on March 31st
As soon as I received this information this evening, I reached out to two health care professionals that I know. Independently from each other, they both thought that it is highly unlikely that the masks were contaminated.  However, it is my duty to disclose the facts to you.  Based on current government recommendations, the three of us are now in self-quarantine with our families, and this will continue until Friday April 10th (14 days since last had contact with the employee).
I will, of course, be refunding all of the money donated for the masks, and stopping this initiative.
I am personally devastated that this happened. I’m devastated by my employee’s actions, and I am absolutely sickened at the thought of it having an effect on our community. We all, as makers and donors, tried to do something good through this initiative. Keeping quiet about COVID-19 has serious repercussions for our society. If my much loved and trusted employee had simply informed me even on March 26th when the test results came in, we would have quarantined our facility and we would not be having this conversation. The real way to keep each other safe is to be open and honest with one another. 
Thank you again for all of your support. Please reach out to me at milena@freredunord.com if you have any questions or concerns. I am here to respond.
Sincerely,
Milena