Story at a glance
- More than 20 percent of the pork processing plant’s workers tested positive for the coronavirus.
- Tyson Foods Wednesday confirmed large-scale COVID-19 testing in Storm Lake.
- The news comes as meatpacking plants across the country have experienced COVID-19 outbreaks.
The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) confirmed Thursday 555 out of the Storm Lake facility’s 2,517 workers recently tested positive for COVID-19.
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Sarah Reisetter, the deputy director of IDPH, said Iowa businesses are being asked to report COVID-19 outbreaks once more than 10 percent of the company’s workforce test positive. Reisetter on Wednesday said the department would not be issuing public notices about large outbreaks at Iowa companies, but instead will only publicly confirm coronavirus outbreaks at meatpacking plants and other businesses when requested from members of the media, the Des Moines Register reports.
“We’ve determined confirming outbreaks at businesses is only necessary when the employment setting constitutes a high-risk environment for the potential of COVID-19 transmission,” Reisetter said Thursday according to the Des Moines Register.
Tyson Foods said in a statement Wednesday they have been working with local health officials and have conducted large-scale coronavirus testing at the pork processing plant in Storm Lake and expect to release test results next week.
“We will disclose verified test results, once complete data is available, with health and government officials, team members and other stakeholders,” a Tyson Foods spokeswoman told the Des Moines Register.
Tyson Foods had previously shut down plants in Iowa and several other states due to coronavirus outbreaks, but most facilities have since resumed operations.
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