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Mueller Co. facilities close for cleaning after Decatur employees test positive for COVID-19

Mueller Co. facilities close for cleaning after Decatur employees test positive for COVID-19

Mueller Co. Foundry

The Mueller Company foundry on Garfield Avenue is shown in August 2019. 

DECATUR — Mueller Water Products said it is temporarily closing its plant and foundry in Decatur after a "very limited number of employees" tested positive for COVID-19

Spokeswoman Yolanda Kokayi said the facilities would be closed Wednesday through Sunday for deep cleaning and sanitizing as a precaution.  

"We are working with the Macon County Health Department to test individuals and conduct contact tracing," Kokayi said. "The employees who have tested positive, and those they have had significant contact with, are currently home in isolation with pay and benefits." 

Public Health Administrator Brandi Binkley said the health department would not confirm the name of any business with cases of COVID-19. 

Mueller Water Products breaks ground for state-of-the-art foundry in Decatur

In general, she said, employers are notified if an employee who tested positive was at work during the determined time period. 

"We provide that information to an appropriate staff member (occupational health nurse, administration, management, etc.) and then additional information is obtained regarding contacts so that additional contact tracing and directions to others can be completed," Binkley said in an email. "The employer is also informed to communicate this information to their staff, keeping the identify of the confirmed case confidential." 

Kokayi said the company had implemented social distancing and other health guidelines in the past two months. In manufacturing plants, new policies have included: 

  • providing masks that are required while working;
  • on-site temperature monitoring;
  • staggered and flexible work schedules and workflows;
  • alternate break and lunch schedules; enhanced cleaning and disinfecting supplies at employee workstations;
  • and increased common area cleaning and disinfecting.  

"Employee health and safety are critically important to Mueller Water Products, especially in our role as an essential critical infrastructure business during this unprecedented time," Kokayi said. "The hard work and dedication of our employees make it possible for critical water and gas infrastructure utilities to continue providing essential, sometimes life-saving services."

Mueller has about 600 employees in Decatur, officials have said. The company was founded in Decatur in 1857 by German immigrant Hieronymus Mueller and is now based in Atlanta.

The company broke ground in October on a new brass foundry in the 2700 block of North Jasper Street. It also had a foundry on Garfield Avenue and a manufacturing facility on Eldorado Street. 

The company’s foundry in the city makes water and gas transmission products, which are then shipped to other manufacturing facilities, including one in Decatur, for final fabrication.

HISTORY PHOTOS: Mueller Co. in the Herald & Review archives


Contact Allison Petty at (217) 421-6986. Follow her on Twitter: @AllisonAPetty

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