Tyson Foods to increase COVID-19 testing at meat plants nationwide

Local News

SPRINGDALE, Ark. (KCAU) – Tyson Foods, Inc. is planning to test thousands of workers every week across its facilities nationwide as part of the launch of a new COVID-19 monitoring program.

According to a release from the company, it will implement there COVID-19 monitoring program through three categories. The first is selecting employees who have no symptoms for testing. the number tested will depend on many factors, including the number of positive cases, number of workers, and community size.

The company said it also plans to conduct daily health screenings and those employees who are symptomatic will be tested using CDC guidance. Lastly, the company will test employees who may have been in close contact with other co-workers.

“We believe launching a new, strategic approach to monitoring and adding the health staff to support it will help further our efforts to go on the offensive against the virus,” he said. “Adding more resources and technologies reinforces our commitment to protecting our team members, their families and plant communities.” Tyson Foods Group President and Chief Administrative Officer Donnie King said.

The strategy was designed with the assistance of outside medical experts, the company said.

In addition to the testing, Tyson Foods also created a chief medical officer position and plans to add almost 200 nurses and administrative support personnel to support the new effort.

United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International President Marc Perrone said they welcome the new strategy Tyson Foods is implementing.

“UFCW is urging all companies in the industry to follow Tyson’s lead and take immediate action to expand COVID monitoring as we work to flatten the curve. Together, we will continue to look for new and better ways to protect the health and safety of the brave frontline workers who are so important to the nation’s food production system,” Perrone said.

The program has been piloted at several facilities and have seen great success.

Dr. Daniel Castillo, the chief medical officer for Matrix Medical Network which helped develop the testing protocols, said the program is a science-first approach that is cutting edge of how workplaces can mitigate the coronavirus.

“You’ll likely see many others adopt a similar approach in the coming months because it’s a process that looks both at people showing symptoms as well as those who do not,” Castillo said.

According to Tyson Foods, nearly a third of its workforce has been tested for COVID-19.

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