Tyson releases results from COVID-19 testing at Storm Lake plant

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SPRINGDALE, Ark. (KCAU) – Tyson Foods, Inc. released on Tuesday the results of facility-wide testing for COVID-19 at its pork facility in Storm Lake, Iowa.

Of the 2,303 team members who work at the facility, 591 tested positive. More than 75% of those who were positive did not show any symptoms and otherwise would not have been identified.

The total comprises of 58 individuals who were tested by the Department of Health or when seeking care through their own health care providers and an additional 533 who were tested onsite from May 18 to May 21.

The company said in a press release that workers who test positive receive paid leave and may return to work only when they have met the criteria established by both the CDC and Tyson.

In all, 186 of the team members who tested positive have been through their required absence and have now returned to work.

Limited production will resume at the plant on June 3 following a temporary halt during which additional deep cleaning and sanitizing was conducted.

The Storm Lake facility is among more than 40 production facilities in the United States where Tyson is rolling out advanced testing capabilities and enhanced care options onsite to team members in partnership with MATRIX MEDICAL, a leading medical clinical services company, and other partners. 

“We are thankful for the efforts of Tyson Foods’ management and team members to ensure the safety of employees as they continue in the best manner possible to process food for our country,” Keri Navratil, City Manager for Storm Lake, said. “We know that the efforts to protect Tyson team members also protect their families and, in turn, our other residents.”

Tyson said it will disclose test results at other plants where it is conducting facility-wide testing to health and government officials, team members and stakeholders as part of its efforts to help affected communities where it operates better understand the coronavirus and the protective measures that can be taken to help prevent its spread. 

Tom Brower, Senior Vice President of Health and Safety for Tyson Foods, said they are routinely finding high levels of asymptomatic positives during widespread testing at plants.

The company said in a release it is prioritizing large-scale testing in communities with a higher prevalence of COVID-19 and will assess additional needs based on risk factors and access to testing.

Team members at Tyson’s Storm Lake facility have access to daily clinical screenings, nurse practitioners and enhanced education.

Tyson said in the release that the company has also put in place a host of protective steps that meet or exceed CDC and OSHA guidelines for preventing COVID-19. These include symptom screenings for all team members before every shift, providing mandatory protective face masks to all team members, as well as a range of social distancing measures, including physical barriers between workstations and in breakrooms.

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