Tyson Foods, Inc. and Elkhorn Logan Valley Public Health Department (ELVPHD) announced on Tuesday the results of facility-wide testing for COVID-19 at Tyson’s Madison, Neb., pork plant. Limited production resumed on Monday following a temporary halt for deep cleaning and sanitization.
Mass testing at the Madison facility took place from May 1 to May 4. Of the 1,467 team members and contractors who work at the facility, 212 tested positive, according to a company release. The positive results were comprised of 112 people identified through mass testing and 100 individuals identified through local health care providers.
Of those tested during the facility-wide testing event, 74 individuals did not show any symptoms and would not have been identified without the mass testing, the release said.
Team members who test positive will receive paid leave and cannot return to work until they meet the criteria established by both the CDC and Tyson. Most individuals identified by local health care providers are considered to be recovered now, the release said.
“Our top priority is the health and safety of our team members, and we appreciate the collaboration and support of Elkhorn Logan Valley Public Health Department as we provided testing and took steps to complement our existing prevention efforts,” said Tom Brower, senior vice president of health and safety for Tyson Foods, in the release. “As we learn more about this virus, we continue to do everything we can to protect our team members and ensure they feel safe and secure when they come to work. We’re proud of our Tyson team members and are supporting them with the most up-to-date information and resources to take care of their health.”
Tyson plans to disclose verified test results at other plants like they have for the Madison plant to health and government officials, team members and stakeholders as they become available. The company said the testing is part of its efforts to help affected communities where it operates better understand the coronavirus and protective measures to help prevent its spread.
Daily clinical symptom screenings, nurse practitioners and enhanced education opportunities will be offered to all employees at the Madison plant. These programs are in addition to numerous protective steps the company has put in place that meet or exceed CDC and OSHA guidance.
Tyson has also increased short-term disability coverage to 90% of normal pay until June 30 to encourage team members to stay home when they are sick, the release said. The company has doubled its “thank you” bonus for its frontline workers. Team members unable to work because of illness or childcare issues related to COVID-19 will continue to qualify.
“Tyson is the largest food company in the United States, and we are embracing our responsibility to lead during this unprecedented time,” said Steve Stouffer, group president, Tyson Fresh Meats, in the release. “We will continue to ensure that we are at the forefront of the industry when it comes to safety, exploring new ways to keep our team members healthy and protect our communities as we work to keep food on America’s tables.”
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