www.bloomberg.com/… (April 17)
Meat packing centers in the Midwest are some of the fastest growing pandemic centers, according to Bloomberg News, the New York Times, and other news media. Workers in some plants complain about close working conditions and lack of protective equipment. Industry analysts see supply disruptions and higher prices.
Fortunately, the food supply is not thought to be the manner the coronavirus is spread, but it is highly contagious among closely spaced workers who do not have proper masks to prevent respiratory transmission.
The coronavirus that has killed several workers and sickened hundreds of others at U.S. meat plants is raising concerns of a shortfall in pork and beef at grocery stores.
As some slaughterhouses halt or slow output and buyers brace for more disruptions, meat prices are surging.
Iowa: www.desmoinesregister.com/…(April 17)
(Governor) Reynolds acknowledged this week a potential outbreak at the Waterloo meatpacking plant and has increased testing among employees of both plants.
“The Department of Public Health is working closely with some of our processing plants — the Tyson plants, especially in Columbus Junction and Waterloo — in an effort to test all employees and conduct contract trace contact tracing for all positive cases,” the governor said Friday. “Testing will conclude today at the Tyson plant in Columbus Junction; 2,700 tests are being sent today to the Tyson plant in Waterloo.”
The Columbus Junction plant has been closed since April 6. The Waterloo plant remains open.
South Dakota: www.forbes.com/… (April 16)
Smithfield Foods’ meat processing plant in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, has become the largest coronavirus hotbed in the United States with about 735 associate cases, while Gov. Kristi Noem has yet to issue a stay-at-home order…
Thousands of complaints have been filed to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration—obtained by the Washington Post through FOIA—by those working amid the pandemic: citing the lack of sanitation and CDC recommended practices to avoid coronavirus as OSHA has not mandated safety measures for coronavirus essential workers
Pennsylvania: www.nytimes.com/… (April 13)
* JBS USA shut a beef plant in Souderton, Pennsylvania, until April 16, after previously cutting production.
* Cargill Inc closed a plant in Hazleton, Pennsylvania, that produces meat for U.S. grocery stores.
Colorado: ktla.com/… (April 11)
A meat packing plant in Colorado where dozens of employees have contracted the novel coronavirus is closed for a deep cleaning and all workers will be tested before they can return to their jobs, officials said Friday.
The union that represents 3,000 employees at the JBS plant in Greeley said in a letter to state, county and company officials that two of its members have died.
The union says at least 50 employees are infected with the virus; the company, which is headquartered in Greeley, put the number of JBS workers with Covid-19 at 36.
Other food processing centers are showing up on the New York Times interactive pandemic map include Green Bay, Wisconsin (Door County 180 cases, doubling ever 4 days), Dodge City, Kansas (Ford County, 85 cases, doubling ever 1.5 days), and Grand Island, Nebraska (Hall County, 339 cases, doubling every 4.5 days).
These small town infections could be major entry points into rural America which up till now has thought itself somewhat immune from the pandemic.