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Coronavirus In Ohio: Manufacturers Struggle With Shifting Health Guidelines

Component Repair Technologies in Mentor hasn't experienced a reduction in business due to COVID-19, but is experiencing challenges with state guidance, such as working from home or taking employees' temperature.
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Component Repair Technologies in Mentor hasn't experienced a reduction in business due to COVID-19, but is experiencing challenges with state guidance, such as working from home or taking employees' temperature.

While Ohio schools, restaurants, and salons are among those closed to enforce social distancing, many manufacturers are still open for business.

Component Repair Technologies in Mentor is a manufacturing plant that inspects and repairs airplane parts. Human resources manager John Gallagher said the company isn’t seeing a reduction in business due to COVID-19 since most airlines are still operating.

However, he says it’s been difficult for CRT and other local manufacturers to manage some of Gov. Mike DeWine’s recommended precautions, such as taking employee temperatures when they come into work.

“You’re putting out edicts that businesses don’t have the ability to execute," he said. "You’re asking non-medical professionals to essentially perform what is a medical procedure, and the equipment is not even available.”

Gallagher said CRT is asking employees to take their temperatures themselves and stay at home if they’re feeling sick, which follows the updated guidance DeWine gave at Thursday’s press conference. 

Todd Courtney, president of Crown Composites Tooling in Twinsburg, said he's taken similar action with his employees.

"We haven’t implemented any special issues here other than to assure my crew that if they’re sick, they stay home and we’ll take care of their pay," he said.

Gallagher said he's heard other manufacturers have been finding it challenging to keep up with rapid changes in updates and guidance from the state and CDC.

"Normally, you're dealing with, from a reaction standpoint, things moving in week increments," he said. "You'll be operating on a certain number of parameters in the morning, and then that completely changes in the afternoon."

Gallagher also said CRT is consulting with local leaders and manufacturing colleagues to prepare different contingency plans for the coming weeks. 

The Ohio Department of Health makes the following recommendations to protect yourself from illness:

  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; dry hands with a clean towel or air dry hands.
  • Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer when soap and water are unavailable.
  • Cover your mouth with a tissue or sleeve when sneezing or coughing. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick.

Ohio's coronavirus call center is open to answer questions from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. The hotline number is 1-833-4-ASK-ODH or 1-833-427-5634. More information is available at coronavirus.ohio.gov.