3 test positive for virus at Foster Farms plant in Kelso


2 are employees and 1 is a contract temp worker

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — There has been a lot of attention nationally on a South Dakota meat processing facility where hundreds of employees have tested positive for the coronavirus. Although there isn’t an outbreak of that size here in the Pacific Northwest, a meat processing plant in Kelso, Washington reported that a small number of its employees have tested positive for the virus.

A senior spokesperson of Foster Farms said that three people have tested positive for COVID-19 at the Washington facility. Ira Brill, the vice president of communications, has confirmed that those positive cases are two employees and one contract temp worker.

He said the facility has a series of measures in place to protect employees, including active temperature monitoring and wellness checks, protective face masks that are issued to all staff, and an expansion of break areas to encourage social distancing. The company has also started installing dividers in workspaces where social distancing space is limited.

Brill also said that the plant is sanitized and reviewed for operation as part of standard operating procedures each day per the USDA. The facility underwent additional deep cleaning this weekend.

Brill said company leaders told employees about the positive test results. In a written statement, he said, “We are grateful for their support and contribution to keeping food on America’s grocery shelves.”

In regards to the safety of Foster Farms products for consumers, Brill added, “The USDA and FDA have unequivocally stated that COVID-19 cannot be transmitted by food or food packaging.”

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