Tesla’s determination to restart EV production at its Fremont plant last May seems to have had consequences. According to to the Washington post, PlainSite a got Health data from Alameda County shows that the Tesla plant recorded around 450 cases of COVID-19 between its official reopening in May 2020 and the end of this year. There were 10 or fewer cases in May, but they climbed to 125 in December when the winter wave set in.
It is not known how many cases have resulted in hospitalizations or spread in the community, although the county said in June that there were no known cases of plant infections reaching the general public. Data for 2021 had not been shared as of this writing, although it may echo general trends of a surge in January followed by a gradual decline.
The cases represent “only” 4.5 percent of the approximately 10,000 people working at the Fremont site. However, they suggest workers fell ill in May, when Elon Musk officially reopened the plant in resistance to county lockdown measures. They also specify that Tesla, like amazon and other tech giants, has regularly struggled with COVID-19 cases among workers who have no choice but to work on site.
There have been ongoing complaints that companies are not supporting workers who are unable or unwilling to work with the risk of a potential coronavirus infection. While Tesla had told workers at the factory that they could stay home if they didn’t feel safe coming back, reports surfaced in early summer that Tesla was laying off staff who had refused to appear.
The situation will likely improve as the wave abates (hopefully) and more factory workers to get vaccinated. Still, this indicates that Tesla push for record production figures in 2020 had its health costs, and that there will likely be another toll in 2021.
New! From the Alameda County Public Health Department, a year after our initial request, a unique table summarizing the number of COVID-19 reports the department received from the $ TSLA Fremont plant.
Note that it only started following the track in May and that it stops in December 2020. pic.twitter.com/MOnzQwCRFS
– PlainSite (@PlainSite) March 13, 2021