Tyson Foods, Inc. announced the results of facility-wide testing for COVID-19 at its Chicago, Illinois steak-cutting facility. Of the 240 team members who work at the facility and were tested onsite on May 27, eight positive cases were identified, the majority of whom did not show symptoms and otherwise would not have been identified.
This is in addition to 23 positive cases identified since April among team members tested by the Department of Health or when seeking care through their own health care providers. Team members who test positive receive paid leave during the required quarantine period and may return to work only when they have met the criteria established by both the CDC and Tyson.
The Chicago facility is among more than 40 production facilities in the United States where Tyson is rolling out advanced testing capabilities and enhanced care options onsite to team members in partnership with MATRIX MEDICAL, a leading medical clinical services company, and other partners. The company is prioritizing communities with a higher prevalence of COVID-19 and will assess additional needs based on significant risk factors and access to testing.
As it is doing at the Chicago facility, Tyson will disclose test results at other plants where it is conducting facility-wide testing to health and government officials, team members and stakeholders as part of its efforts to help affected communities where it operates better understand the coronavirus and the protective measures that can be taken to help prevent its spread.
“At Tyson, our top priority is ensuring the health and safety of our team members, their families and the communities in which they live and work,” 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 are committed to making sure they feel safe and secure when they come into work.”
Team members at Tyson’s Chicago facility have access to daily clinical screenings, nurse practitioners and enhanced education. AXIOM MEDICAL, a health care case management provider, will also track the symptoms of team members who test positive and provide additional care.
Tyson has also put in place a host of protective steps that meet or exceed CDC and OSHA guidance for preventing COVID-19. These include symptom screenings for all team members before every shift, providing mandatory protective face masks to all team members, as well as a range of social distancing measures, including physical barriers between workstations and in break rooms.
“Our team members are essential to helping feed the nation, and their health and safety come first,” said Ieon Bhairoo, Plant Manager for Tyson in Chicago. “Disclosing our testing results is another step we are taking to better protect our team members and the Chicago community.”
Tyson Foods has increased short-term disability coverage to 90% of normal pay until June 30 to encourage team members to stay home when they are sick. The company also has doubled its “thank you” bonus for its frontline workers. Team members who cannot come to work because of illness or childcare issues related to COVID-19 will continue to qualify.