Rheem employee hospitalized with COVID-19 dies

Rheem employee hospitalized with COVID-19 dies
Rheem says one of its Montgomery employees who tested positive for COVID-19 has died after being hospitalized. (Source: WSFA 12 News)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - An employee of Rheem Manufacturing Company’s Montgomery plant has died after being hospitalized with complications from the coronavirus, according to a company spokesperson.

“We shared this news with the company yesterday and our entire Rheem family is mourning this loss,” said Lindsey Ford, the Atlanta-based company’s global communications director.

“At this difficult time, we want to respect the family’s privacy,” Ford added. "Our thoughts are with them and all of our partners and colleagues who knew and loved this valued team member.

While the employee’s name is not being released, Ford could say he, or she, was last in the plant on April 13 but not diagnosed with COVID-19 until April 25.

The first positive case for the company’s Montgomery location - which has nearly 1,000 employees - was confirmed on April 14. The number climbed to 17 within a week and to more than 25 as the pandemic stretched into May.

“We have completed extensive contact tracing (in line with guidelines issued by the CDC) to ensure anyone who may have been in proximity with an infected employee is sent home to self-quarantine for 14 days to monitor for symptoms,” the spokesperson added.

Ford said as of Tuesday, there are 10 active cases of COVID 19, with one employee currently hospitalized. Another 18 employees who have been diagnosed with the respiratory illness have since recovered and are back at work.

Grief counseling and additional support are being offered to employees.

Rheem makes products like water heaters and air conditioning equipment and has had a presence in Montgomery for more than 45 years.

Safety Updates

As circumstances change quickly due to COVID-19, our number one priority remains protecting our employees. We have completed extensive contact tracing (in line with guidelines issued by the CDC) to ensure anyone who may have been in proximity with an infected employee is sent home to self-quarantine for 14 days to monitor for symptoms.

In addition, I can follow up with a list of proactive health and sanitation measures we have taken; please let me know if this is of-interest.

About Rheem

Government authorities have deemed Rheem as an “essential service” necessary to satisfy basic community needs, such as providing hot water goods, which combat the further spread of COVID-19. The continued production of water heating equipment contributes to accessible hot water, which is vital for cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting homes, as well as commercial institutions, such as hospitals, nursing homes, and designated FEMA emergency facilities.

Rheem’s water heating manufacturing facility has been operating in Montgomery for more than 45 years. There are approximately 1,000 Rheem employees in Montgomery.

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