A Boeing employee from the company’s Everett facility, outside of Seattle, has died after contracting COVID-19, marking the first death out of the group of employees being treated for the disease.
Citing a family member, co-workers and a union official, The Seattle Times reports that the man who died was an inspector who worked on the 787 Dreamliner production line in Everett. The man’s specific role was to oversee unfinished work that was carried out as the aircraft sat on the flight line, he had been with the company for 27 years.
In an emotional Facebook post reportedly published on a private group for Boeing workers, the brother of the deceased worker requested Boeing close down its doors and shut down.
“My brother is on life support, please pray for him and all affected by the virus.”Brother of deceased man via The Seattle Times (reporting by Dominic Gates)
In a later post, the man’s brother confirmed the death; following a stay in the intensive care unit at an unknown hospital.
A Boeing spokesperson acknowledged that the company is aware of social media posts and is taking steps to confirm the information, whilst maintaining the privacy of the individual and his family.
Last week Reuters reported that Boeing was considering halting production completely; to curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus and to help maintain cash levels, as they work out the virus and 737 MAX situation. People involved with the talks say the company is assessing further impact to supply chains and employees.
Boeing management has already copped plenty of anger from employees, about the decision to keep factories open as COVID-19 cases continue to rise. The workers union has not yet issued a call for a complete shutdown; as some workers still attending their jobs desperately depend on their paychecks, whilst those who are willing to forgo pay are opting to stay home with loved ones.
As of the end of Saturday 21st of March, there were 29 confirmed cases of COVID-19 within Boeing; with 24 being in the Puget Sound area and five in a different state. The Seattle Times added that the local tally is at 17 confirmed cases in Everett, five in Renton, one in Auburn and one at the local headquarters in Longacres.