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Nearly 600 workers from North Carolina Tyson chicken processing plant test positive for COVID-19

Meatpacking workers worried about health
Employees at meatpacking plants are concerned about safety and pay 04:52

Wilkes County, North Carolina — Almost 600 workers at a Tyson chicken plant that reopened after being closed for deep cleaning have tested positive for COVID-19, reports CBS Charlotte affiliate WBTV. Tyson said 570 employees and contractors out of 2,244 from the Wilkesboro plant who were tested came up positive.

A majority didn't have symptoms and wouldn't have known they were infected if they hadn't been tested, the company added.

The plant had shut down for five days as a result of a COVID-19 outbreak.  

Of the 570, 237 were tested by the Department of Health or their own health care providers. Another 2,007 were tested onsite from May 6 to May 9.

Two of the three plants at the Tyson complex were shut down for cleaning. The Fresh Plant One facility was closed earlier this month.

Outbreaks at chicken and meat processing plants are among the main virus clusters around the country.

Tyson said workers who test positive receive paid leave and only return to work after they meet CDC and Tyson criteria. Company policy requires that all those testing positive or feeling sick be isolated at home.

"We are working closely with local health departments to protect our team members and their families, and to help manage the spread of the virus in our communities," said Tom Brower, Senior Vice President of Health and Safety for Tyson Foods. "We are using the most up-to-date data and resources to support our team members, and we are committed to ensuring they feel safe and secure when they come to work."

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