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Storm Lake Tyson Pork Plant Shutting Down Temporarily

May 28, 2020 5:54pm

Tyson Foods has decided to temporarily halt operations at their pork processing plant in Storm Lake.

The closure is due in part to a delay in COVID-19 testing results and team member absences related to quarantine and other factors. Tyson will idle harvesting animals and finish processing over the next two days. Additional deep cleaning and sanitizing of the entire facility will be conducted before resuming operations later next week.

When operations resume, team members at Tyson’s Storm Lake facility will continue to have access to additional testing, daily clinical symptom screenings, nurse practitioners and enhanced education through Matrix Medical, which has a mobile unit onsite. These programs are in addition to a host of protective measures Tyson has put in place that meet or exceed CDC and OSHA guidance for preventing COVID-19.

A COVID-19 outbreak at the Tyson pork plant was confirmed at Governor Kim Reynolds' news conference earlier today.  It was announced there were 555 positive cases among employees at the plant.  Buena Vista County Public Health Administrator Pam Bogue said that there were several asymtomatic cases among those numbers.  

The steps that Tyson Foods have taken include:

Conducting wellness health screening of all team members each time they arrive at the facility, checking for symptoms such as coughing or shortness of breath in addition to continuing to check team members’ temperature.

Providing surgical-style face masks to every team member and requiring they are worn.

Requiring face shields in addition to face masks in the limited areas where neither barriers nor six-foot physical separation is practical.

Installing widespread hand sanitizer stations throughout plants.

Designating additional dedicated social distance monitors stationed throughout the facility during all shifts to help ensure team members adhere to safety protocols and social distancing requirements.

Increasing short-term disability coverage to 90-percent of normal pay until June 30th to encourage team members to stay home when they are sick.

Doubling “thank you” bonus for frontline workers to $120 million. Team members who cannot come to work because of illness or childcare issues related to COVID-19 will continue to qualify.