Bath Iron Works announced two workers tested positive for coronavirus, bringing the shipyard’s total to eight cases. The workers have since been quarantined and are receiving medical care.  Kathleen O’Brien / The Times Record

BATH — Two more Bath Iron Works workers tested positive for coronavirus this week, one of whom was a hired contractor, bringing the shipyard’s total to eight cases since the virus reached Maine in March.

One worker, whose condition was announced by the company Tuesday, was last at work on Monday. That person has since been quarantined and is receiving medical attention.

In a statement released Tuesday, the shipyard wrote, “cleaning and disinfection of the potentially affected work areas has already been performed, and contact tracing for any affected individuals continues.”

The other case, announced Monday, is a contracted worker who was last at the shipyard on Saturday. BIW spokesperson David Hench declined to comment on when that contractor started working at BIW or where they came from.

According to a company statement, all contractors must test negative for COVID-19 within 72 hours of arriving in the area before they can enter BIW facilities. Contractors must also answer screening questions and be temperature tested every day for the first 14 days after they arrive.

“All contractors are subject to follow-up COVID-19 testing if they start at BIW before the end of their 14 day incubation period,” the company wrote in a statement Tuesday.

Hench would not release any personal information about the workers, including where in the company they worked.

The company hired an unknown number of additional contractors to supplement its workforce while Local S6 of the Machinists Union, the shipyard’s largest union, remains on strike.

The first case at the shipyard was reported in late March. Another case followed in early April. Four more cases were reported throughout June. The first three workers who tested positive have recovered and returned to work, according to a statement from the company. The status of the last three is unknown.

In March and April, as the number of cases in Maine steadily rose, union officials and Maine lawmakers called on the company to close to prevent the virus from spreading within the shipyard, which employs 6,800 people from every county in the state.

The shipyard stayed open, but ramped up cleaning.

“All salaried employees are required to properly wear a face-covering … when within 6 feet of another person or whenever six feet of social distancing will be difficult to maintain while working in or moving around any BIW facility,” the company stated. “At Bath Iron Works, the safety of our employees continues to be our top priority, and we are committed to supporting them as we navigate these unprecedented times as an industry essential to the defense of our nation.”

Employee attendance plummeted after that initial test, with only 41% of workers clocking in two days after the shipyard announced the first positive test.

Fewer than half of the shipyard’s employees are clocking in as the company’s largest union continues to strike for changes to its new contract. However, nearly all picketers have decided against wearing a face mask while picketing, though the CDC recommends masks in public because the virus is believed to spread through respiratory droplets.

Union officials were unavailable for comment.

The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention has recorded 3,992 cases since mid-March. Of those, 3,456 people have recovered and 124 have died.

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