COVID-19 cluster closed at Tyson Foods’ Wilkesboro plant

The Wilkes County Health Department reported that as of August 12th, the Tyson Foods plant in Wilkesboro, North Carolina, is no longer considered a COVID-19 cluster.

Roy Graber Headshot
(Synel | Bigstock)
(Synel | Bigstock)

The Wilkes County Health Department reported that as of August 12, the Tyson Foods plant in Wilkesboro, North Carolina, is no longer considered a COVID-19 cluster.

The health department defines a cluster as a minimum of five cases with illness onsets or initial positive results within a 14-day period, and plausible linkage between cases.

The company conducted facility-wise testing in May. At the time 570 of the plant’s 2,244 employees tested positive, but in a press release, the county health department said the amount of positive cases at the facility eventually reached 612. Of those positive cases of COVID-19, the majority of them were asymptomatic. Team members who tested positive received paid leave and were only allowed to return to work when they have met the criteria established by both the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Tyson.

The company suspended operations at the plant May 9 through May 11 in order to conduct deep cleaning and sanitation procedures. Operations at Tyson Foods’ foodservice plant in Wilkesboro were not interrupted.

In order for the Wilkes County Health Department to be able to close out the meat processing plant cluster, Tyson Foods has completed two 14 day incubation periods, or 28 days with no new cases.

“Tyson Foods team has been wonderful to work with. Since April we have been able to work together to slow the spread to the virus and implement changes across the plant and complex. Tyson Foods continues to work hard to ensure the health and safety of their team members and community”, stated Rachel Willard, Health Director, Wilkes County Health Department.

As of August 12, Wilkes County has 854 confirmed COVID-19 cases, 711 recoveries, and 5 currently hospitalized.

Tyson Foods is the largest poultry company in the United States and the second largest in the world.

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

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