Tyson Foods is installing plastic barriers between work stations. (photo courtesy: Tyson Foods)
Tyson Foods installed barriers in their breakrooms in Logansport. (photo courtesy: Tyson Foods)
Tyson Foods is installing infrared thermometers at its plants to check employees. (photo courtesy: Tyson Foods)
At least 15 workers at the Tyson Foods pork processing plant in Logansport have reportedly tested positive for COVID-19. The Pharos-Tribune quoted a union representative who works at the plant.
“Every day for the last two weeks, someone is saying, ‘Someone’s out,’ ‘Someone’s missing,’ ‘Someone’s sick.’ The numbers are not going down, they’re going up — and they’re not talking about it,” said Billy Williams, a union steward at the plant.
The employee told the publication that he created a list of employees he knew who had tested positive for COVID-19 and so far, that list has 15 names on it.
Cass County now has more than 130 positive cases of COVID-19. The paper said the first known case was discovered three weeks ago.
“My state epi (epidemiology) team has gone in to help Cass County’s local health department,” said Indiana State Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Kris Box. “They’re doing an incredible job tracking down the cases, but the numbers have become somewhat overwhelming.”
While not confirming the name of the company, Box said Tuesday during the governor’s daily briefing that no COVID-19 patients have been admitted at Logansport Memorial Hospital.
“At this point, the hospital has not had a significant or the last time I talked to them any cases in the hospital, but the potential certainly exists. So, we’re aware of it and fully engaged there,” said Box.
Arkansas-based Tyson Foods Inc. (NYSE: TSN) is one of the largest meatpacking companies in the world. It has been dealing with numerous COVID-19 cases at several other Midwest plants, including a plant in Columbus Junction, Iowa.
After nearly 200 workers tested positive, Tyson suspended operations at the Iowa plant.
Employees on the processing lines, stand close together, making it difficult for social distancing. In response to the outbreaks, Tyson has instituted new barriers and safety procedures at the plants, including the Logansport location.
“I have talked with the company CEO. They have made all the necessary changes so it is a safe working environment,” said Governor Eric Holcomb.
The company said it has erected dividers between workstations to increase the space between workers on the production floor.
According to a news release from Tyson, it has also created more room in non-production areas. The company set up tents outside the Logansport facility to create more outdoor break rooms.
“When we all work closely together, sometimes even stay together during a week’s period of time, then go back to our families, that’s a congregant living setting,” explained Box. “So, that’s how we can end up getting that many cases.”
Tyson Foods says it has installed walk through infrared temperature scanners to check the body temperature of Indiana workers before they can enter the production area.
Click here to read the full story from the Pharos-Tribune.