By on May 21, 2020

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Ford Motor Co. temporarily shut down its Chicago Assembly Plant for a portion of Tuesday after two employees tested positive for the novel coronavirus. The facility had only been open for a single day, suggesting automakers may have to contend with infected employees on a regular basis. Responsible for Ford Explorer, Police Interceptor Utility, and Lincoln Aviator production, the site was idled briefly for disinfection before being reopened on Wednesday morning.

This return proved short-lived. The Chicago Tribune reports that Chicago Assembly closed again today, although COVID-19 was not to blame. Wednesday’s culprit happened to be those nasty supply chain issues we’ve been harping on. Ford’s Dearborn Truck Plant (home of the F-Series) did have a fresh coronavirus case, however. The facility was forced to match the Chicago factory’s response and shut down for sanitization measures on the same day — though at least Dearborn Truck seems to have a sufficient number of parts on hand. 

Ford spokeswoman Kelli Felker explained that an unidentified supplier had left the automaker short on parts in Chicago, declining to name specific names. She did say that the matter would likely be resolved by Wednesday evening, with production resuming before Thursday morning.

From the Chicago Tribune:

At full capacity, the assembly plant runs with three shifts, seven days a week. Ford’s stamping plant in Chicago Heights also reopened Monday.

The Dearborn, Michigan-based automaker said it notified workers known to have been in close contact with the infected individuals at the Chicago Assembly Plant and asked them to self-quarantine for 14 days.

“It is important to note that due to incubation time, we know these employees did not contract COVID-19 while at work. Our protocols are in place to help stop the spread of the virus,” Felker said in a text.

Get comfortable with these kinds of incidents, as they’re likely to remain the status quo for a while. Despite the whole world trying to restore supply chains to a state approaching normalcy, they’re a total mess and will likely take weeks to get back in order. Meanwhile, automakers have implemented protocol at factory sites to help identify infected workers while making procedural changes designed to help protect staff.

Unfortunately, forcing facilities to shut down every time someone comes in with a fever may have wide-ranging consequences. Having been largely business-free for two months, domestic automakers are desperate to resume production and get some sales in before 2020 ends. And yet they’re going to pause every single time a new infection appears so that a factory can be sterilized.

Despite a weird amount of censorship surrounding the issue, we’ve gradually learned that coronavirus contagion rates are probably a lot higher than anyone realized, while the mortality rate is much lower than originally feared. Basically, everyone who was initially eager to prohibit “misinformation” ended up censoring valid information, while “authoritative sources” gradually changed their tune. This caused plenty of panic and confusion around policy at a time when facts were few, likely influencing the collective response.

The picture is somewhat clearer now, and COVID-19 is looking a little less scary for it. It’s still spreading, though, and there’s good reason to take steps to curtail that. Unfortunately, automakers are already well behind their production schedules and may be further hindered if they have to take a day off whenever someone shows signs of illness… not that there’s much of an alternative. The UAW has been adamant that protecting workers is its top priority, saying it won’t settle for automakers doing anything but the most they can to improve testing and reduce infections. Local governments have said much the same, with some states only agreeing to let production resume after manufacturers submitted health and safety plans.

For Ford, this has meant introducing routine temperature checks for employees, mandating face masks, providing face shields, as well as expanding the time between production shifts to limit interaction between employees. It also means reacting aggressively to any new outbreak, which is where we get our first bit of good news.

Ford said that, due to the incubation period of COVID-19, the infected employees couldn’t have gotten the virus at work. They also didn’t spend a lot of time on the assembly line, limiting the chance of spreading the virus to someone else. Those health checks will hopefully ensure that’s the case, though we’ll be watching to see how effective the new countermeasures prove to be in the coming months — both in terms of containing the pandemic and helping automakers stay on schedule.

[Image: Ford Motor Co.]

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55 Comments on “Ford Briefly Closes Plants After Workers Test Positive for COVID-19...”


  • avatar
    JimC2

    It’s part of the new normal and we’d better get used to it. Still, I like it a lot more than the alternative, which is staying cooped up and waiting for the apocalypse or a pie-in-the-sky vaccine, whichever comes first.

    I want to be clear: I hope everybody either stays healthy or returns to good health.

    • 0 avatar

      It does not matter if you go to work, take hydroxychloroquine or hide in basement like Biden. When asteroid hits everyone will be dead.

      • 0 avatar
        JimC2

        Ummmmmm, asteroid??

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          A bit hyperbolic, but there you have it.

          • 0 avatar
            JimC2

            Ah, rereading it this morning I think I misunderstood @Inside’s sardonicism for tinfoilhattedness… in which case, I believe we agree. The quarantine was reasonable when it started, we’ve done what was reasonably by going along with it. What is reasonable is to start opening things back up and focus on problem solving when problems arise such as the ones at Ford’s plants in this story.

      • 0 avatar
        Art Vandelay

        Like I said in another thread, the world may end tomorrow, but I wasn’t born yesterday.

        And if hydroclorinique is dangerous I expect a healthy check from the VA since when I and others asked about potential side effects of anti malarials as most of us had 3+ years of taking them we were all told there was no issues with them and in fact not taking them was grounds for punishment (a pithy comment along the lines of “my body, my choice” over this and some other drugs I had no clue about got me a counseling and stern talking to about being a poor example as an officer)

        You mean the government lied back then? I’ll be sure to update my address so that check gets here without issue.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          @Art- it would be safe to assume that you were young and fit when you were ordered to take it for malaria.
          Hydroclorinique in the context of COVID-19 is being proven to be both unsafe and ineffective. High risk for COVID-19 disease are over 60, obese, and preexisting conditions. Those same conditions are also high risk for hydroclorinique.

          • 0 avatar
            Arthur Dailey

            @ArtV:below are 2 links to articles referencing his experience with hydroclorinique written by Eric Margolis a note journalist who volunteered for the US Army and served as an officer in Vietnam.

            For the record Margolis was not a supporter of HRC but as someone who knew/met/traveled in the same social circles as Trump also was not optimistic regarding Trump’s governing skills.

            https://ericmargolis.com/2020/04/trumps-kool-aid/
            https://ericmargolis.com/2020/04/lies-wont-stop-covid-19/

          • 0 avatar
            WheelMcCoy

            @Arthur Dailey – thanks for the links to Eric Margolis. I enjoyed reading those two links and noted how well he writes. But of course, one look at his credentials would make that clear.

          • 0 avatar
            Arthur Dailey

            @WheelMcCoy: Thanks. Margolis is someone who has been accepted by and also alienated both the left and right wing media. He was the foreign affairs columnist for many years for Canada’s leading right wing papers (The Sun group), yet also was a regular commentator for both the Canadian Broadcasting Company and TV Ontario. So he certainly cannot be pigeonholed.

            His credentials are as you said impeccable. And since he is independently wealthy he is not beholden to any group/individual.

            He has also experienced combat firsthand on multiple continents. Yet also operates an animal rescue charity.

          • 0 avatar
            Art Vandelay

            I mean at the start of the first one, sure. But by the second trip I had had multiple trucks blown out from under me, lived on the ruins of Sadaam’s nuclear plant, lived next to a brick factory that fired it’s kilns with crude and had breathed in enough other crap that i had some issues. The second trip more of the same but living by a burn out took its toll. By the third I was pushing 40 so young and healthy? The last? Yeah right…by that point there is a joke that forget the deploy…just try to survive the flight. Maybe for one trip you are healthy. Yet here I am, not dead

  • avatar
    EBFlex

    “Despite a weird amount of censorship surrounding the issue, we’ve gradually learned that coronavirus contagion rates are probably a lot higher than anyone realized, while the mortality rate is much lower than originally feared.”

    https://www.mercurynews.com/2020/05/20/stanford-researcher-says-coronavirus-isnt-as-fatal-as-we-thought-critics-say-hes-missing-the-point/

    Huh. Interesting. Also it’s good council to remember that dying WITH corona and dying FROM corona are two different things yet they are counted as the same. So the death numbers we have now are highly suspect.

    But prepare to be labeled a alt-right wingnut Mr. Posky. Posting the truth is not something many in the B&B support.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      New York has discovered that frontline workers with proper PPE have lower rates of infection than the general public. They’re also discovering that it may not in fact survive on surfaces all that well. That means proper PPE might be enough to stop the virus and allow opening up. They need to standardize on a good recommended mask design for the general public. With a better mask design we might be okay opening up more. By better, I mean something that seals better and filters both in and out.

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        @MCS Can you support that statement? Approximately 14% of all positive COVID tests in Ontario are healthcare workers and over 10% for all of Canada.

        According to the Guardian, as of April 15th, 9,200 American healthcare workers have tested positive. I have included multiple links to pertinent articles.

        https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2020/04/29/one-in-seven-ontarians-who-tested-positive-for-covid-19-are-health-care-workers.html
        https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/apr/15/coronavirus-us-health-care-worker-death-toll-higher-official-data-suggests
        https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/health-care-workers-make-up-1-in-10-known-cases-of-covid-19-in-ontario-1.5518456
        https://www.ctvnews.ca/health/coronavirus/front-line-medical-staff-deaths-grow-highlight-virus-risks-1.4882447
        https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/health-care-workers-covid-19-alarming-rate-1.5568711

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      EB, isn’t there a cloud near you that needs to be yelled at?

    • 0 avatar
      Old_WRX

      “Huh. Interesting. Also it’s good council to remember that dying WITH corona and dying FROM corona are two different things yet they are counted as the same.”

      Quite true. I read about the criteria for registering a death as resulting from CV19, and they were not what is usually used by the medical profession for determining cause of death. Before anyone starts screaming that it must have been some conspiracy theory web site, I’ll tell it was http://www.cdc.gov.

      It could be argued that the UAW’s motive is more in line with the “liberal” policy of dragging this out as much as possible than protecting their members.

      Overall the (dis)information surrounding this whole CV19 mess is a disgrace.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      “dying WITH corona and dying FROM corona are two different things”

      Please explain the difference.

      If that is too broad, here is a focused question,

      A patient tests positive for COVID-19 disease with a history of COPD and frequent lung infections. The patient dies of pneumonia. Which disease was the primary cause of death? How are they different? Can a patient have an “acute on chronic” illness?

      “we’ve gradually learned that coronavirus contagion rates are probably a lot higher than anyone realized”

      I take it you failed to read to the bottom of the article where his statement was dismantled?

      Seroprevalence studies are showing that exposure rates are less than anticipated. Sweden was expecting 33% of their population to show antibodies for SARS-CoV-2 but they have found only 7.3% of the population has tested positive. Spain’s seroprevalence rate is 5% and so is France.

      “Overall the (dis)information surrounding this whole CV19 mess is a disgrace.”

      AGREED.

      Someone should tell King Quinine to STFU.

      Oh and tell guys like @EBFlucked and @theloon to stop spamming misinformation!

      • 0 avatar
        Steverino

        Lou,

        You have diabetes. You get hit by a train. You died with diabetes, not from it. (There’s also the difference that Covid deaths get a much larger Federal reimbursement, but to even speculate makes one a wing nut for whatever side you oppose.)

        • 0 avatar
          JD-Shifty

          don’t be dumb. they aren’t saying people who died in wrecks with covid died of covid

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          @Steverino – in hospital deaths are a known entity. Medical staff can differentiate. Home deaths are a different animal. One doesn’t perform an autopsy on every one. Even without a specific cause of death it is rather easy to categorize deaths. Any increase over historical death rates can be categorized. Any “extra” deaths can be safely attributed to COVID-19 based upon symptoms leading up to death.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    Strong is the @$$#attery in these comments

  • avatar
    Snooder

    Lol.

    The plant is literally open a goddamn day and already people are testing positive? I would think that would be a pretty glaring sign that maybe we aren’t ready to be re-opening.

    See, in a sane world, the automaker would be able to get all their workers tested BEFORE letting them come back to work. Thus, identifying those who are contagious and separating them from everybody else. I suspect that instead, they are having to rely on identifying those with clear symptoms and only testing after they show symptoms. Which is not ideal because people are contagious not only BEFORE showing symptoms, but many are also contagious while asymptomatic.

    Also, seriously what kind of dumbass failing high school biology thinks “well they didn’t get infected at work so we’re good to go” is any sort of guarantee? One would hope that they’ll be testing everyone who worked on the floor that day and not letting them back in the building unless they have a negative test in about a week. That’s just common sense, right? If they got infected now, they may not generate the antibodies to show up positive on the test for a week. And in the meantime they could be contagious before then and thus spread again to others, etc. Then the company does their token closure for a day and that 2nd wave of infected comes back and infects more, etc.

  • avatar
    bkojote

    We shouldn’t reopen until we’re able to test, track, and respond accurately. This shouldn’t even be debatable. Volatility will kill the economy full-stop.

    And we have the current admin idiots trying to obfuscate testing because they feel being transparent about the metrics will spook the market, which is absolutely retarded but not surprising coming from Trump who is too embarrassed/stupid to release his high school transcripts (let alone tax returns.)

    • 0 avatar
      redapple

      BKO

      Dont you think the Mueller Spercial Persecutor colonoscopy looked at his tax returns?
      Of course the did. If something was illegal, you would have heard of it.
      The communist news and the lefties want the tax returns for POLITICAL PURPOSES.

      Example, OH look, he gave money to Joe Blow Organization. JoeBlow is related to Zed. Zed is related to the Bund.
      Bund is NAZI so
      TRUMP IS NAZI

      Thats why you want the tax returns. You know it. I know it.

      Reason 2. If he releases taxes, ALL PRESIDENT candidates going forward will need to.
      this is a bad precedent and a hurtle too high.

      #3. All the Lois Learner types in the IRS have gone thru his taxes with a 100 power microscope. Dont you think? There is nothing illegal in there. Just meat for the commie news.

      This is why leftie talk radio has never taken off. The arguments/ positions of the left do not stand to open conversation.

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        @RedApple: What Mueller said was that his investigation “did not exonerate Trump”. Meaning that they found evidence of wrong doing. However, his investigation did not have the power to charge a sitting President. Only Congress has that power.

        The House of Representatives then found Trump guilty. The Senate did not.

        As for releasing tax returns, all those elected President prior to Trump have released their’s since it became a standard practice. There is no reason for Trump not to follow precedent and release his.

      • 0 avatar
        Snooder

        Actually we KNOW the Special Prosecutor did NOT look at Trump’s Tax Records.

        How do we know this? Because in order to be able to see his records legally, they’d need a court order. A court order which is still, currently, pending adjudication by the Supreme Court.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      As long as we are releasing stuff, how about Biden’s personnel files related to Tara Reade. Releasing transcripts isn’t really expected…See Obama’s Columbia Transcripts (Hint…you can’t)

      I understand people wanting to see the tax returns, however I am inclined to agree that if there is something illegal in there, why hasn’t the IRS acted?

      • 0 avatar
        redapple

        Art:

        “I am inclined to agree that if there is something illegal in there, why hasn’t the IRS acted?”

        Because there is nothing illegal. BINGO !!!!!!

        Lois Learner and Robert Mueller looked and looked and looked. They want meat for a BS story like my BUND example.

        Intellectually dishonest people. Shameful. The USA is doomed.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          I have no idea whether anything illegal shows on those returns. But that begs the question: if nothing illegal is going on, what’s the big deal with releasing them?

          Clearly, there’s something HIGHLY embarrassing on those returns, and the most likely culprits are a) they show he lied about being as rich as he says he is (surprise, surprise!), calling his business acumen into question, or b) he hasn’t paid a dime in taxes in 10 years.

          My money’s on b).

          By the way, since we’re going down the “if nothing illegal happened, then let’s just not talk about it path,” I think he should finally stop trash talking Hillary Clinton. Don’t you? Oh, I forgot…”Hillary Clinton” is actually a political argument among some people.

          • 0 avatar
            Art Vandelay

            This is the problem with our choices today. The people making the “If Trump has nothing to hide why not release them” aren’t on the same train with respect to Biden’s documents from Tara Reade’s time working for him. Clearly if he didn’t assault her, he has nothing to hide.

            Third party it is this year I guess.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Art, do you really think there’s a document in Biden’s desk entitled “All The Dumb Inappropriate Crap I Did To Tara Reade”? LOL.

            But yeah, the choices are just beyond bad. And I don’t understand why Trump didn’t just release his taxes, unless a) he’s just withholding them to be a trolling dickhead (which is in character for him), or b) there’s something embarrassing on them. Probably a bit of both, but like I said, I bet we’d figure out that he isn’t the mogul he makes himself out to be, and probably didn’t pay diddly squat in taxes – both of which would be embarrassing.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            The Tara Reade file is in the dumpster next to the OBAMAGATE file

          • 0 avatar
            Art Vandelay

            No, there is not a point by point presentation of his dealings with her.

            There may well be however personnel files relating to her dismissal or other files that corroborate his or her accounts of the events.

            As one has been calling for the release and one refuses to do so, I am left with the opinion that he has something to hide as is the case with Trump’s taxes.

            Either way, for a number of reasons to include this mess, he won’t be getting my vote. Third Party this year. I refuse to accept that a creepy 77 year old with more baggage than Kate Winslet when she boarded the Titanic and Donald Trump are the best this country can do.

          • 0 avatar
            Art Vandelay

            Furthermore, when you have 50 years in government and you feel compelled to hide any of that stuff outside of matters of National Security I have a problem with that.

            Then again, maybe nothing is in there regarding Tara Reade. I would love to see the stuff related to Anita Hill for example. Either way, if you tout your record and then hide chunks of it, you are no more fit to be President than the current dude. Hard Pass.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            You keep saying you’re voting “3rd party”, but what 3rd party candidate is that above it all and ready for sainthood

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            I have no problem with releasing Reade’s personnel files whatsoever, Art.

            But in the end, assuming Biden’s a woman-grabbing creep, what you have is, as you say, two awful choices.

            What’s REALLY awful is the idea that Biden’s actually an upgrade over Trump…which he is.

          • 0 avatar
            Arthur Dailey

            Agree that it is disheartening that Biden was the Democrats’ choice.

            He has been around for too long, meaning that he has too much to defend during a campaign.

            His age is also a detriment.

            Sort of having to choose between a Vega (Biden) which you know is going to breakdown, and a Pinto hatchback with original Firestone 500 radial tires and a full tank of gas (Trump), which you know may ‘catch fire’.

          • 0 avatar
            Art Vandelay

            @Lie2Me, they don’t have to be a saint. I’ll settle for a semi presidential acting person that is not a geriatric and that has likely not forced themselves upon a member of the opposite sex. Sadly this seems to be an option the 2 main parties are not providing.

            The problem with the 2 choices is that Honest to God, Vermin Supreme may very well be a better choice. If I had those 2 options or that “The rent is too [email protected] high” dude that ran for Governor of NY…well, the rent can be pretty high. Gary Coleman, Stars of Adult Cinema, Madames…all people that have ran for office in my lifetime and all better options than these two buffoons.

            I’m not supporting this nonsense anymore. Quit nominating scumbags. Not that it matters, my state is going to go for Trump, but I’ve done my bit for God and Country so I’ll vote for someone this time rather than against the other guy. I’ll likely vote for the Libertarian (they haven’t selected a nominee yet).

          • 0 avatar
            Art Vandelay

            And @FreedMike, Honestly I have come to believe that people accepting the status quo are the biggest part of the problem. There are plenty of people out there who are intelligent, good leaders, and respect the opposite sex. If you support a party that puts forth as an option someone who doesn’t meet the basic tennets of being a decent human being then you get what you deserve. I am so sick of the “yeah, they are a piece of crap but we have to support them because the other guy will bring forth the Antichrist. Just stop.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            The issue isn’t solvable by just introducing other parties into the mix – in a system where bribery of elected officials is legal via campaign contributions, the third party guys will end up bought off too. The only reason they aren’t bought off now is that they have no chance of winning. If one were to emerge with a real chance of winning, I guarantee you that would change.

            And that’s the basic issue – the legalized bribery. That’s why we get two crappy choices every four years – the powers that be don’t WANT decent people in there, they want people in there that they can control. I really think it’s as simple as that.

            Until that’s dealt with, nothing will really change – even putting a certified bomb-throwing idiot like Trump in there didn’t change the system. He’s bought off too, just like everyone else – his benefactor is the Christian right. Without them, he’s hosed…and he knows it.

          • 0 avatar
            SoCalMikester

            C- russian loans since nobody else would lend him money to buy/flip golf courses. his own kids even admitted to it.

          • 0 avatar
            Art Vandelay

            Don’t care. I’m not participating in this. The parties might reform if people stopped voting for them. As such I’ll vote for the parties that have yet to be bought off. Knowing what I know of both of these buffoons I couldn’t look myself in the mirror if I supported either of them. They are both idiots.

            You do you though. But I have kicked around third party every election since Clinton’s second term. And every time the same people give me the “It’s too important this time…you need to hold your nose.”. Well you hold your nose long enough you turn blue and pass out. I’m done.

            Maybe the world will end tomorrow, but I wasn’t born yesterday.

    • 0 avatar
      ToolGuy

      CIRCLE of CONCERN and CIRCLE of INFLUENCE
      http://uthscsa.edu/gme/documents/circles.pdf

      “Proactive people focus on issues within their circle of influence. They work on things they can do something about. The nature of their energy in doing this is positive, enlarging and magnifying. They increase their Circle of Influence.”

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        Unfortunately, administrative cluster of fornication tends to create it’s own black hole of negativity that can become exceptionally difficult to overcome.

        Circle of concern and circle of influence all tend to be constrained by paradigms. We all tend to function within those boundaries. That’s why “thinking outside the box” is praised but rarely occurs. In this case, box and paradigm are interchangeable.

  • avatar
    EBFlex

    https://www.yahoo.com/news/coronavirus-scientist-quicker-exit-lockdown-072039855.html

    Oh how interesting. Yet another extremely smart individual saying the lockdown needs to end because infection rates are far higher than reported.

    Man it’s good to be right.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      “Man it’s good to be right.”

      And with that info under his belt EB went off to join the other stable geniuses of the world to fight for truth, justice and the American way

      … Beware of the kryptonite

      THE END

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      Some scientist arguing the lockdown end date doesn’t make you right.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        EB has really upped his attention-seeking game. The first round of anti-Ford trolling worked, but this “Everyone but me is stupid about COVID” kick is a rich new vein for him.

        Good on ya, EB, I hope you’re finally getting enough negative attention to make you feel all warm and fuzzy, like cuddling yourself under a hand-knit blanket. God bless you.

    • 0 avatar
      Snooder

      Lol. That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.

      “Hey, we’re in lockdown so more people don’t get sick and die”.

      “Whatever, libtard, turns out we got more people already infected and contagious than we thought so we might as well just end the lockdown and let all those hordes of contagious people spread it around so even more people get sick and die.”

      How does that make sense to you? At all?

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      “Man it’s good to be right”

      It is obvious that you are using “right” as a position on the political spectrum as opposed to being correct.

      It is also obvious that you don’t read what you post.

      The dude offering his opinion is a “theoretical epidemiologist”. He was pointing out that England’s original projections were worst case. He also bases his assumptions upon the theory that SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence is currently very high.

      Sweden’s seroprevalence rate is 7.3%. They believed it should have been 30% by now. Any country performing seroprevalence testing are showing lower than expected numbers.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    It’s not clear to me why every company in the auto supply chain cannot test their employees prior to returning to work. I’m not talking every employee…. just the ones who cannot do their job remotely. If an employee is in a high risk group – diabetes, obesity, heart condition, etc. – the decision to return to work is a MUCH more difficult one to make.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      @jkross22 – testing everyone pre- start up would be logical. It isn’t being done due to scarcely of testing resources and cost. It probably would be cheaper and faster for Ford to buy their own test equipment and hire nurses and lab technicians than contract it out. My local hospital just got a new machine so we now get results in under 4 hours. Prior to this, we had to ship tests out and have to wait 2-4 days.

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