October 27, 2021

Pyrotek closes plant after 2 test positive for virus

Metro Creative Graphics

Eighty people are out of work after the Pyrotek plant on Route 13 in Cortlandville was closed when two employees tested positive for the COVID-19 virus.

Company officials are concerned that nearly a dozen others who work there may have contracted the virus, the company announced Monday night. At least 11 other employees were experiencing some symptoms consistent with coronavirus.

Several were awaiting test results; others were scheduled for testing today.

One has not been tested, but is presumed positive by a healthcare provider.

The company has about 80 employees at the plant.

Production was halted Friday morning and no one has worked at the site since 9:30 that morning. Operations will not resume until Pyrotek can ensure the safety of its employees, plant Manager Thomas Howard said in a news release.

The company announced it is continuing to follow all U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines and those of local health authorities.

“Unfortunately for our employees and their families, these positive tests results occurred, despite all of our work implementing the CDC guidelines,” Howard said.

Garry VanGorder, executive director of the Cortland County Business Development Corp., said this morning he had not spoken directly with the company and was only familiar with the information that Pyrotek released.

“They are a quality company,” VanGorder said. “They did everything they needed to do to keep their employees safe.”

Any employees who have COVID-19 symptoms have been asked to self-quarantine, according to Pyrotek.

“We hope we can return to full operations as soon as possible so we can continue in our role as an essential manufacturer,’” Howard said. “Our products help make vital items made from aluminum like ventilators and N-95 masks, along with food, beverage, and drug packaging.”

Before the announcement, Pyrotek had already implemented measures in accordance with CDC guidelines, according to the company, including:

  • Social distancing. Pyrotek spreads people out over two shifts to increase distancing.
  • Increased daily cleaning, and extra sanitizer for personal hygiene.
  • Those people who are sick are instructed not to come to the plant and to stay home if they think they have symptoms related to COVID-19.

Pyrotek also will adopt these additional measures before reopening:

  • Daily confirmation, by every individual, that they have no symptoms before entering the facility.
  • Touch-free temperature screening for some individuals.
  • Cloth or surgical masks suggested for all people entering the plant, and required for those who are returning to work after having COVID-19 symptoms.

Pyrotek opened its plant in Cortlandville in 2011. The facility engineers, manufactures and refurbishes equipment and materials required in aluminum and other high-temperature industries.