UPDATE: A worker who collapsed and died at a titanium mill in Ohio March 18 did not test positive for COVID-19, the Trumbull County Coroner’s Office announced Saturday.
However, any relief for the deceased man’s employer, Arconic Carriers, is short lived. The company learned last week that two other employees had since tested positive for COVID-19.
Other tests are in the works to confirm the actual cause of death in the original incident, a coroner’s office spokesperson told WKBN.
Five first responders who attempted life-saving measures on the collapsed 51-year-old worker had placed themselves in self-imposed quarantine pending the outcome of the COVID-19 testing.
Weathersfield Township Fire Chief Tom Lambert told reporters that it was only learned after their efforts that the worker had missed the previous three days of work complaining of the flu and difficulty breathing.
Out of an abundance of caution, Arconic’s management brought in an outside cleaning company to disinfect where the dead man worked.
March 21, 2020
Five first responders who had contact with an employee at a titanium mill in Ohio who collapsed and died Wednesday morning are now in self-imposed quarantine for possible exposure to COVID-19..
Weathersfield Township Fire Chief Tom Lambert told WKBN that only after responders, including himself, attempted life-saving measures on the 51-year-old worker was it learned that he had been sick prior to his collapse.
“We found out that he’s been sick for three days, missing work with the flu and that morning he had trouble breathing,” Lambert said.
Lambert, who works fulltime for Lane LifeTrans EMS, responded to the scene in Niles, Ohio, in that capacity. Three other workers with the ambulance company and a fire captain have gone into quarantine as well.
In the U.S. the potentially fatal COVID-19 infection has spread to more than 14,000 people and is blamed in the deaths of more than 200. Among other actions, the federal government has urged that employees with symptoms of acute respiratory illness stay home from work.
The mill owner, Arconic Carriers, released the follow statement to the local press:
“Until the coroner completes its investigation, Arconic Niles Operation, out of an abundance of caution, has directed employees who came in contact with the deceased to self-quarantine in keeping with our specific protocols for employees at this time.”
The death was not a work-related accident, a Arconic spokesman said. As a precaution, an outside cleaning company was brought in to disinfect the building where the incident occurred.
The dispatch call informed responders only that a man had collapsed in the locker room at the mill.
“When we got there, there was a nurse performing CPR on the gentleman,” Lambert told WKBN. “We worked with her, doing CPR on the gentleman.”