Employees at five North Carolina food processing facilities have COVID-19

Published 8:20 am Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Five food processing facilities in the state are each experiencing multiple cases of COVID-19 among employees, North Carolina health officials said Tuesday.

A news release from state health and agriculture officials said there are outbreaks of two or more positive cases in food processing facilities in Bladen, Chatham, Duplin, Lee and Robeson counties. The release didn’t name the plants.

The news release said that the plants are doing temperature checks, providing personal protective equipment and encouraging social distancing when possible. State and local health officials are also offering technical assistance and on-site visits.

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Teresa Duncan, the director of the Bladen County Health Department, issued a statement over the weekend saying at least one employee tested positive for COVID-19 at the Smithfield Foods pork processing plant in Tar Heel, North Carolina, according to multiple news outlets. Duncan said the employee lived in another county.

Duncan declined to answer questions about cases at the plant left by email and voicemail on Tuesday.

Representatives of Smithfield Foods didn’t immediately respond to messages seeking comment Tuesday about its North Carolina plant.

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