Tyson Foods will conduct facility-wide testing for COVID-19 at its processing facilities and other operations in Arkansas’ Benton and Washington counties, where positive cases of the coronavirus have risen.
The company is taking this precautionary measure to protect its team members and as part of its efforts to help affected communities where it operates better understand the coronavirus and measures that can be taken to help prevent its spread.
To date, Tyson has identified a limited number of COVID-19 cases at its facilities in Arkansas. As of June 1, Tyson is aware of 77 active COVID-19 cases among its nearly 24,500 team members who work in the state. They are still absent from work under the guidelines by the CDC and Tyson to stay home.
“At Tyson, we believe testing can be critical to improving individual health outcomes, helping ensure plant and community safety and ensuring team members feel safe and secure when they come to work,” said Tom Brower, senior vice president of health and safety for Tyson Foods. “Our testing in other parts of the country has shown a high number of positive cases among individuals who did not show any symptoms and otherwise would not have been identified, and we can do a public service in northwest Arkansas by testing at our facilities there as well.”
Matrix Medical, a leading provider of mobile and on-site health care services, will partner with the state and local health officials to conduct diagnostic testing for COVID-19. As it has at other facilities where it has conducted facility-wide testing, Tyson will disclose verified test results from the northwest Arkansas facilities when they are available to health and government officials, team members and stakeholders.
Tyson has also put in place a host of protective measures at its processing facilities that meet or exceed U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidance for preventing COVID-19. These include daily clinical symptom screenings for all team members before every shift, providing mandatory protective face masks to all team members, and a range of social distancing measures including physical barriers between workstations and in break rooms. Tyson is also providing enhanced education to ensure our team members understand risk factors and protective measures to take so that they can stay safe at work and at home.
326 workers test positive in Sherman, Texas
Tyson Foods on May 28 announced that 326 of 1,604 workers at its case-ready pork and beef plant in Sherman, Texas, tested positive for COVID-19.
Team members who tested positive are receiving paid leave, and may return to work only when they have met the criteria established by both the CDC and Tyson Foods.
View our continuing coverage of the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic.