On Thursday, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem released the 15-page finalized report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regarding Smithfield Foods in Sioux Falls.
"I want to thank Vice President Pence, Secretary of Agriculture Perdue, and the CDC for prioritizing the situation at Smithfield Foods in Sioux Falls," says Noem. "Their partnership has been critical to the work that we've done to get this cluster under control and safeguard the health of this workforce. My team at the Department of Health will continue to work with Smithfield and offer any assistance we can to help them implement these CDC recommendations, so they can safely reopen this plant as soon as possible."
In a letter to Kenneth Sullivan, Smithfield Foods president and CEO, the S.D. Department of Health said it requires a plan of action addressing the report recommendations be developed by Smithfield Foods and submitted to DOH prior to re-opening the facility. For each recommendation, a timeframe for implementation needs to be indicated. If a recommendation cannot be implemented or a different solution is proposed, the company must provide justification. Smithfield Foods must also indicate the date it intends to reopen.
Once submitted the DOH will expedite a review of the plan of action and schedule a follow-up assessment to review the process changes. Based on a satisfactory assessment by the DOH, the Smithfield facility will be recommended to reopen.
After the facility reopens, the DOH will continue to assess the impact of changes to prevent COVID-19 among employees during unscheduled visits. In the letter, DOH says Smithfield should continue to refine operating processes to further minimize the risk of COVID-19 within employees, both in and outside the workplace.