December 1, 2021

Second KIK worker tests positive for virus

Metro Creative Graphics

A second KIK Custom Products worker has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, according to a June 8 internal company memo.

The unidentified second-shift employee, who has not been at the plant since May 28, “is doing well at this time,” Kevin Stevenson, the plant’s general manager, wrote in the memo.

The memo said the infected worker came into close contact with two other people, who would appear to be plant workers, because the two have been “strongly advised … to immediately contact HR if they are feeling ill in any way.”

County health departments are notified of infection cases and contacts if the people involved reside in that county, said Lisa Perfetti, Cortland County’s interim public health director. Since Cortland County Health Department has not been informed about the infected employee or the two contacts, this would mean the three people do not live in Cortland County, Perfetti said.

Contact tracing would be handled by the county of residence, which has not been made public.

This is the second KIK employee to test positive for the coronavirus.

The previous worker, who also worked second shift, tested positive about a month ago.

“At this time, we do not feel there is a high risk at the plant base (sic) on a full trace of contact that was performed,” the memo reads. “Also, the virus has not been shown to survive 24 hours on a surface. As a result, we will continue our operations without interruption.”

After the first worker tested positive, Stevenson wrote in a May 7 memo that “the virus has not been shown to survive 24 hours on a surface.”

However, a widely cited March 17 study in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that the virus can remain viable for up to 72 hours on plastic and stainless steel.

“Companies do not necessarily need to close after a person with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 has been in a company facility,” reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “The area(s) used or visited by the ill person should be closed for 24 hours or as long as possible. … Once the area has been appropriately disinfected, it can be opened for use. Workers without close contact with the person with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 can return to work immediately after disinfection is completed.”

The June 8 KIK memo lists safety measures required at the plant, including mandatory masks, social distancing, daily body-temperature checks, good hygiene practices, limits on outside visitors to the plant and immediate reporting of symptoms of illness.

Neither Stevenson nor Janet Taylor, a KIK human resources manager in St. Louis, could be reached for comment.

KIK has two plants in Cortland – one at 106 Central Ave. and another at 37 Huntington St.

The company specializes in manufacturing personal care items, such as shampoo and lotions, for the hospitality industry.