Mountaire Farms has confirmed that an employee at its poultry processing plant in Selbyville, Delaware, has tested positive for COVID-19.

This individual has not been at work at the facility since March 18 and is recovering at a local hospital. The patient is expected to be released soon.

According to Delaware Health Department guidelines, 15 employees who may have worked closely with the employee were sent home on March 31. None of them have shown any signs of illness, and their temperatures were normal. They will remain out of the facility until the Health Department recommended 14-day quarantine period is over.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with this employee and their family, and we are grateful that this individual is recovering,” said Phillip Plylar, president of Mountaire Farms. “Our teams have been ready for this and we don’t expect this to interrupt our operations. We’ve enacted our COVID-19 Action Plan, and are taking all necessary precautions to protect our workforce. Our facilities are disinfected every night and we are redoubling our efforts to thoroughly clean and disinfect our common areas and cafeterias to protect our workforce.”

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As a critical part of the nation’s food supply, the poultry industry has risen to the challenge to continue to produce chicken during the coronavirus pandemic. It’s simply not an option for the food industry to shut down, the company said. 

“It is extremely important that the entire vertically integrated chain of poultry production remain functioning at full capacity and that everyone in that chain is doing their part to assure chicken is available for purchase,” said Delaware Secretary of Agriculture Michael Scuse in a statement on March 18.  “Workers are commended for what they do to feed our citizens and are encouraged to give extraordinary effort in these challenging times. We have the most abundant, affordable, and safest food supply in the world, due to the invaluable contributions of everyone involved in food production Their participation in feeding Delaware and America is essential.”

Employees are being reminded to take all necessary precautions, including frequently washing hands, using hand sanitizer to avoid the spread of germs, and staying home if they’re sick. This employee will continue to receive pay while recovering.

View our continuing coverage of the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic.