Thursday, May 21, 2020

570 at Tyson plant in N.C., 1/4 of its total, have the virus

Wilkesboro, N.C. (Wikipedia map)
"Tyson Foods, one of the world’s largest food companies, has revealed the scale of the novel coronavirus outbreak at its poultry plant in Wilkesboro," Charlotte's WSOC-TV reports. "Facility-wide testing found that 570 people out of the plant’s 2,244-strong workforce were positive for covid-19, the majority of whom 'did not show any symptoms and otherwise would not have been identified,' the company said in a statement Wednesday."

Most of the workers were tested May 6-9; those who tested positive are receiving paid leave and will return to work only after they've recovered, according to a Tyson statement. The plant was shut down for several days for sanitizing, but production is beginning to ramp back up. Tyson is carrying out increased testing, safety measures, and on-site health care options at more than 30 of its plants, including the one in Wilkesboro, WSOC-TV reports.

Meatpacking plants have become major rural pandemic hotspots partly because of working conditions that workers, many of them undocumented immigrants, have little power to challenge.

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