The Potluck

More than 2,200 U.S. meat packing employees sick, 17 dead in COVID-19 outbreaks, report says

By: - April 22, 2020 12:39 pm

Photo courtesy of Tyson Foods.

More than 2,200 people have fallen sick with COVID-19 in at least 48 U.S. meat packing plants, and 17 have died as of Tuesday night, USA Today and the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting found Wednesday

The comprehensive review of outbreaks in the nation’s meat packing facilities found that Worthington’s JBS pork plant is among the 153 meat processing plants operating in counties with above-average rates of COVID-19 infections. 

“Any rate above one infection per 1,000 people puts a county in the top 25% of U.S. counties reporting COVID-19 infection rates,” the news outlets reported

Nobles County, home to Worthington, currently has 126 lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 1 death. It has an infection rate of 5.7 people per 1,000 residents, the highest infection rate in Minnesota.

Minnesota health officials said they want to test all JBS employees in Worthington; they have also issued new guidance to meat packing facilities for how they can operate safely during a pandemic.

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Ricardo Lopez
Ricardo Lopez

Ricardo Lopez is the senior political reporter for the Reformer. Ricardo is not new to Minnesota politics, previously reporting on the Dayton administration and statehouse for The Star Tribune from 2014 to 2017, and the Republican National Convention in 2016. Previously, he was a staff writer at The Los Angeles Times covering the California economy. He's a Las Vegas native who has adopted Minnesota as his home state. In his spare time, he likes to run, cook and volunteer with Save-a-Bull, a Minneapolis dog rescue group.