Wayne Farms confirmed that workers at seven of its facilities have tested positive for COVID-19.
The seventh largest broiler company in the United States offered an update on the COVID-19 situation on April 15, in which it stated it has confirmed cases at “five of its 11 fresh and prepared foods production facilities, and two of our 17 hatcheries and feed mills.”
While the company did not offer specific details about where those facilities were and how many COVID-19 cases were at each location, a Wayne Farms spokesman confirmed on April 3 that one worker at its poultry complex in Dothan, Alabama, and “several” workers in Enterprise, Alabama, had tested positive.
Wayne Farms monitoring workers for symptoms
Wayne Farms said occupational health professionals and its own workforce are the first and best lines of defense in the battle against COVID-19. Monitoring employees and referring those with fever or symptoms to healthcare for testing or monitoring is the first step. Presently, the current measures are being taken:
- Employees testing positive are removed from the workplace and quarantined on paid medical leave until they receive medical clearance to return
- Occupational Health performs an analysis of work records and interviews with employees who test positive to determine what other employees may have been exposed in the workplace
- Employees in direct contact with those testing positive are removed from the workplace on paid medical leave during their required quarantine period
Educating, protecting workforce
The company further stated it, with the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and public health authorities, this is taking these steps to help educate and protect its workforce:
- Direct communications with employees, suppliers and customers
- Infrared temperature checks of all employees and visitors
- Entry refusal and monitoring for those with elevated temperatures or displaying symptoms
- Installation of more than 1300 protective work station dividers in areas where social distancing is difficult
- Intensive training on PPE, personal hygiene, respiratory and illness protocols
- As usual, all our food production employees wear hair and beard nets, full arm and torso covering smocks, and gloves
- Rigorous and ongoing facility, equipment and apparel cleaning and sanitation, including production areas, break rooms and rest rooms
- On-site Occupational Health professionals at all facilities performing ongoing health assessments to identify those displaying symptoms of COVID-19
- Zero non-essential visitors and strict biosecurity for farms and facilities
- Encouraging employees to wear personal face coverings and providing free facial coverings or masks when supplies are available, with continued sourcing efforts to ensure face coverings are available for every employee.