15 Workers At Indiana Meat Production Plant Contract Coronavirus

A meat production plant in Indiana was forced to temporarily close after 15 employees tested positive for COVID-19.

Tyson Foods Pork Production in Logansport had to be sanitized and disinfected before employees were allowed back to work.

Workers are now separated by plexiglass dividers and the assembly line has been slowed to keep people further apart, ABC reported.

"While we understand the necessity of keeping our facilities operational so that we can continue to feed the nation, the safety of our people remains our top priority," said Jim Schmitz, Vice President of Pork Production Operations.

Additionally, all Tyson Foods plants now have a skin-temperature monitoring machine to detect if employees have a high fever using thermal imaging.

"Our plant production areas are sanitized daily to ensure food safety, and we have stepped up deep cleaning and sanitizing of our facilities, especially in employee break rooms, locker rooms and other areas to protect our team members," Schmitz said.

"We have team members dedicated to constantly wiping down and sanitizing common areas. In some cases, this additional cleaning involves suspending a day of production. We understand everyone, including our team members, is anxious during this challenging time and we're committed in doing everything to be there for each other as we navigate through this together."

Meat US food
Slaughterhouse shutdowns are disrupting the U.S. food supply chain Mark Wilson/Getty Images

A Smithfield Foods plant in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, closed Sunday after hundreds of its employees tested positive for the virus. The company is the world's largest pork processor

Slaughterhouse shutdowns in response to COVID-19 cases among employees are disrupting the U.S. food supply chain, sparking fears over consumer access to meat and poultry.

However, the North American Meat Institute (NAMI), which represents companies responsible for 90 percent of red meat production and 70 percent of turkey production in the U.S., said that concern is unnecessary.

"We can't foresee a time when America would run out of meat," Sarah Little, vice president of communications at NAMI told Newsweek. "We have reserves in cold storage and we have the most abundant livestock supply in the world—so much so that we export meat."

"As these big plants go offline, there are other plants around the country that have yet to experience any coronavirus problems," she added. "We have some plants that have not been affected at all, and others that have slowed production due to illness or due to social distancing. Food is still made; it's just slower."

There are now more than 825,000 confirmed coronavirus cases across the U.S., with over 45,000 deaths. More than 75,000 people in the U.S. have recovered from the disease. The chart below, provided by Statista, shows confirmed COVID-19 cases across the country as of April 21.

Statista
This infographic shows the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases around the U.S. as of April 21. Statista

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Advice on Using Face Coverings to Slow Spread of COVID-19

  • CDC recommends wearing a cloth face covering in public where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
  • A simple cloth face covering can help slow the spread of the virus by those infected and by those who do not exhibit symptoms.
  • Cloth face coverings can be fashioned from household items. Guides are offered by the CDC. (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html)
  • Cloth face coverings should be washed regularly. A washing machine will suffice.
  • Practice safe removal of face coverings by not touching eyes, nose, and mouth, and wash hands immediately after removing the covering.

World Health Organization advice for avoiding spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19)

Hygiene advice

  • Clean hands frequently with soap and water, or alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Wash hands after coughing or sneezing; when caring for the sick; before, during and after food preparation; before eating; after using the toilet; when hands are visibly dirty; and after handling animals or waste.
  • Maintain at least 1 meter (3 feet) distance from anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching your hands, nose and mouth. Do not spit in public.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or bent elbow when coughing or sneezing. Discard the tissue immediately and clean your hands.

Medical advice

  • Avoid close contact with others if you have any symptoms.
  • Stay at home if you feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache and runny nose, to avoid potential spread of the disease to medical facilities and other people.
  • If you develop serious symptoms (fever, cough, difficulty breathing) seek medical care early and contact local health authorities in advance.
  • Note any recent contact with others and travel details to provide to authorities who can trace and prevent spread of the disease.
  • Stay up to date on COVID-19 developments issued by health authorities and follow their guidance.

Mask and glove usage

  • Healthy individuals only need to wear a mask if taking care of a sick person.
  • Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing.
  • Masks are effective when used in combination with frequent hand cleaning.
  • Do not touch the mask while wearing it. Clean hands if you touch the mask.
  • Learn how to properly put on, remove and dispose of masks. Clean hands after disposing of the mask.
  • Do not reuse single-use masks.
  • Regularly washing bare hands is more effective against catching COVID-19 than wearing rubber gloves.
  • The COVID-19 virus can still be picked up on rubber gloves and transmitted by touching your face.