Governor Noem Releases CDC Report on Smithfield Foods in Sioux Falls

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FILE – In this April 9, 2020 file photo employees and family members protest outside a Smithfield Foods processing plant in Sioux Falls, S.D. The plant has had an outbreak of coronavirus cases according to Gov. Kristi Noem. (AP Photo/Stephen Groves File)

PIERRE, S.D. (KCAU) – Once a hot spot for COVID-19, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released its assessment of the Smithfield Foods Processing plant in Sioux Falls Thursday.

Of the 15 page report, 11 pages are filled with recommendations for fixing problem areas at the pork processing facility.

The CDC team found an inadequate amount of hand sanitizer on hand, but said an even bigger issue was a lack of communication.

The plant employs 3,700 people and 40 different languages are spoken on site. According to the report, employee information packets were only provided in English.

Noem said her team at the Department of Health will continue to work with Smithfield and offer any assistance they can to help them implement the CDC’s recommendations, so they can safely reopen the plant as soon as possible.

“We’re anticipating that Smithfield will be looking at the facility and implementing some of those recommendations and then we stand ready to send the Department of Health to help and walk through the plant and be ready to get it up and online. And I don’t see any reason for there to be any long delays and we’re hoping to partner with them to get it open as soon as possible,” Noem said.

The South Dakota Department of Health is requiring the company to submit a plan of action prior to reopening.

The CDC’s full report can be found here.

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