Tyson Foods, Inc. announced the results of COVID-19 testing of team members at its Center, Texas poultry facility. The company conducted onsite testing of 1,212 team members from May 27 to May 29 during which it identified 17 positive cases, none of whom showed symptoms and otherwise would not have been identified.
This is in addition to 94 positive cases identified since March among team members tested by the Department of Health or when seeking care through their own health care providers. Of the total 111 team members who have tested positive, 87 have been through their required absence and have now returned to work. Team members who test positive receive paid leave and may return to work only when they have met the criteria established by both the CDC and Tyson.
The Center 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.
“We value Tyson’s partnership in keeping our community safe and healthy,” said Chad Nehring, Center’s City Manager. “Our Tyson plant was communicating enhanced protocols prior to the State’s disaster declaration and the additional safety measures they have put in place are helping to manage the spread of the virus.”
As it is doing at the Center 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, we are committed to the health and safety of our team members, and we are focused on ensuring they feel safe and secure when they come to work,” said Tom Brower, Senior Vice President of Health and Safety for Tyson Foods. “Our test results demonstrate that we are well past the peak of active COVID-19 cases at our Center facility and believe that by sharing this data with local officials we can help to support the wellbeing of our communities.”
Team members at Tyson’s Center facility have access to daily clinical screenings, nurse practitioners and enhanced education. 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 breakrooms.
“We are proud of the work our team members do to help feed the nation and we are giving them the support they need to do their jobs safely,” said Vince Lucas, Complex Manager for Tyson in Center. “We have seen a continuous decline in positive cases in our Center facility, and we are continuing to take protective measures that meet or exceed CDC and OSHA guidance for preventing COVID-19.”
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.