coronavirus

Lockheed Martin Employee Hospitalized with Coronavirus

Defense contractor increases safety measures after several workers contract coronavirus, and a longtime worker dies

NBCUniversal, Inc.

Lockheed Martin says it’s minimizing staffing and increasing social distancing after some employees contracted Coronavirus.

Claude Daniels, who’d worked at Lockheed for more than 42 years died on Saturday, days after telling a supervisor he’d come into close contact with someone outside the company with COVID-19.

Another Lockheed employee is hospitalized after he tested positive for COVID-19.

“For me to be in a hospital, that ain't me,” said Anthony Melchor via Zoom. “This, what you’re seeing here, it ain't me.”

Melchor has worked for Lockheed Martin building jets for four years now.

He suddenly felt sick two Saturdays ago.

“My head was hurting really bad,” he said. “In the middle of the night, someone just poured a bucket of water over me. I was just sweating.”

The Arlington father and husband was tested for Coronavirus.

The results came back negative.

When his symptoms got worse Melchor sought another test, concerned the first swab test did not penetrate his nose far enough.

The second test resulted in a positive diagnosis of COVID-19.

Melchor said he was hospitalized in the ICU at Texas Health Arlington Memorial several days ago.

Doctors also diagnosed Melchor with diabetes.

“I feel energized,” he said Wednesday afternoon. “That’ll probably last for 45 minutes max.”

Melchor is among eight Lockheed employees diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the company’s spokesman Kenneth Ross.

‘We have established minimum staffing and social distancing policies and provide masks/face coverings consistent with current federal guidance for our employees who continue to support national security in our factories and labs,’ stated Ross in a statement to NBC 5.

The defense industrial base with 18,000 employees is considered an essential employer and must remain open to complete contracts related to national security.

Ross states ‘Our Facilities teams have increased cleaning schedules within all our buildings and campuses across Lockheed Martin, with a high concentration on common areas like lobbies, restrooms, breakrooms, and elevators. Upon learning of probable exposure, a contracted professional cleaning and restoration company sanitizes the employee’s workspace, surrounding workspaces, common areas, and entrances and exits throughout the building. This disinfection service meets CDC guidelines.’

Employees reporting COVID-diagnosis and those who work closely with them are sent home to self-quarantine, he added.

Melchor believes he contracted the virus at work.

“I think they do a lot for us,” he said.

An online petition, started by the wife of another employee, is demanding the company close and that workers be paid amid COVID-19 concerns, especially after the death of Daniels.

“Claude, may he rest in peace,” said Melchor.

Melchor is undergoing further treatment that includes daily breathing exercises and expects to remain in the hospital for a few more days, grateful to be on the mend, eager to return to work and to those who matter most.

“I miss my family,” he said becoming emotional. “I miss my dog.”

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