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Whopping 373 workers at meatpacking plant test positive for COVID-19 — and they were all asymptomatic


Well that's terrifying

Photo by STR/AFP via Getty Images

At least 373 workers at a Missouri pork plant tested positive for coronavirus, CNN reported on Monday.

All 373 positive cases were asymptomatic employees.

What are the details?

A news release from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services revealed that no less than 373 workers tested positive for COVID-19 at Triumph Foods in St. Joseph, Missouri. Triumph Foods is a pork processing plant.

At the time of this writing, CNN — citing the state's department of health website — reports that the state has reported 8,386 cases with 352 deaths as of Sunday night.

The release pointed out that testing has been ongoing at the plant since last week.

Dr. Randall Williams, director of the department of health and senior services, said, "We continue to work this weekend contacting these asymptomatic patients and have initiated the process of contact tracing with those determined to be close contacts of our positive cases."

In a Sunday video message, Mark Campbell, the company's CEO, issued a statement.

"Being swabbed wasn't much fun, yet the test results will be critical to helping us understand where the coronavirus is in our facility and our communities," Campbell said.

Employees who tested positive for the virus, symptomatic or not, will remain at home in self-isolation, and will continue to receive pay.

The News-Press reports that Triumph Foods is just one of several COVID-19 outbreaks in meatpacking plants across the Midwest and elsewhere across the United States.

"Coronavirus outbreaks have hit meatpacking operations throughout the Midwest, with some plants closing temporarily and farmers expressing concern about losing an end market for livestock," the outlet reported.

What else?

Last week, President Donald Trump ordered meatpacking plants across the country to remain open so that the food chain supply in the U.S. would not be disrupted.

Trump issued the order under the Defense Protection Act, labeling meatpacking plants "critical infrastructure."

"The vast majority of processing plants could have shut down, reducing processing capacity in the country by as much as 80%," a White House official said at the time. "We see it as an urgent need and there should not be a panic on food supply at the moment when our country is embarking on the path of recovery from the fallout of COVID."

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