Sponsored By
An organization or individual has paid for the creation of this work but did not approve or review it.

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Minnesota beef processing facility site of coronavirus outbreak

While practitioners from Lakewood were already conducting on-site testing at the packing facility for employees experiencing symptoms, the operation expanded Thursday to include everyone regardless of symptoms. Tests were completed for 170 employees Thursday and another 160 Friday.

Coronavirus art graphic
Photo: Pixabay
We are part of The Trust Project.

LONG PRAIRIE, Minn. -- An outbreak at Long Prairie Packing Co. is contributing to the precipitous rise in COVID-19 cases in Todd County, a public health official confirmed Friday, May 22.

Katherine Mackedanz, Todd County community health manager, said the county’s health and human services department is working in partnership with Lakewood Health System and packing plant owner American Foods Group to test all employees of the beef processing facility. About 630 people work at the plant. Todd County reported 24 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, May 22, for a total of 140. A month earlier on April 22, just two cases had been reported in the county, and since Monday, May 18, cases have nearly doubled.

While practitioners from Lakewood were already conducting on-site testing at the packing facility for employees experiencing symptoms, the operation expanded Thursday to include everyone regardless of symptoms. Tests were completed for 170 employees Thursday and another 160 on Friday.

“The purpose of the testing is to find those workers who are infectious with the virus and to isolate them by having them stay home to limit the spread of the disease in the plant and the community,” a news release stated. “Employees who are tested will receive their results from Lakewood Health System within 48 hours.”

As results trickle in and with more testing ahead, Mackedanz said she expected to be able to offer more specific information concerning the number directly linked to the plant who’ve tested positive by early next week. She said those who’ve tested positive so far have displayed mild symptoms or have been asymptomatic. There are no hospitalizations tied to the plant outbreak as of Friday, and she noted the population is primarily younger and in good health.

ADVERTISEMENT

A report released May 8 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention examined outbreaks in meat and poultry processing facilities in 19 states. At that time, outbreaks were noted in 115 processing facilities with 4,913 cases and 20 deaths.

As a public service, we’ve opened this article to everyone regardless of subscription status. If this coverage is important to you, please consider supporting local journalism by clicking on the subscribe button in the upper righthand corner of the homepage.

What to read next
Gay and bisexual men had once been barred from donating blood due to HIV concerns. After easing the restrictions over time, the FDA may significantly ease the restrictions once again to expand the donor-eligible population.
This week, Carol Bradley Bursack explains ways to assess if an older relative's cognitive abilities are starting to decline or staying strong.
When your alarm clock goes off, do you hop out of bed feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the day? Or are you groggy, tired and would rather hit snooze and sleep longer? A new study shows that the secret to feeling more energetic in the morning is to do three things. Viv Williams has the details in this episode of NewsMD's "Health Fusion."
For a Kathryn, North Dakota native, one bad day at work, a stop at a bar, and a shotgun, nearly cost him his life. He shared his story with WDAY's Kevin Wallevand, with the hope sharing his experience will save lives.