Tyson Fresh Meats Inc., the beef and pork subsidiary of Tyson Foods, announced May 1 its plans to resume limited production at its Logansport, Indiana, facility next week, following a plant tour with local health and government officials, a union representative, and medical professionals. The pork processing facility temporarily halted operations on April 25 to test its team members for COVID-19.
Team members were asked to self-isolate until their results returned. The company is working with local health officials on verification of test results and will communicate with team members prior to the restart date, while following CDC guidance on safely returning employees back to work. Workers who test positive or have symptoms consistent with COVID-19 will be directed to reach out to their health care provider, continue to self-isolate, and encouraged to take protective steps to care for themselves. Workers who test negative will be asked to return to work, provided they remain asymptomatic.
“We’ve taken additional precautions to reassure team members that they are returning to a safe work environment and have made additional changes to continue supporting them during this global health crisis,” said Todd Neff, Tyson senior vice president of pork.
While the facility was idled, Neff said the plant added more workstation barriers, installed more hand sanitizer dispensers, and did additional deep cleaning and sanitation. The plant is now also screening employees for additional symptoms and designating monitors to help enforce social distancing, while following the CDC and OSHA’s guidance for Meat and Poultry Processing Workers and Employers.
The Logansport facility is the first of several Tyson Plants to receive a mobile health clinic, operated by Matrix Medical Network, to provide community-based services ranging from diagnostic (PCR) testing for COVID-19, assist with the environmental design of the facility to mitigate the risk of the virus spread, as well as conduct daily on-site clinical screening. Matrix operates a network of locally based clinical providers and a fleet of mobile health clinics to provide community-based services with advanced diagnostic capabilities and enhanced care options.
Mobile medical clinics will also be deployed to Tyson Foods facilities in Louisa County, Iowa; Waterloo, Iowa; and Pasco, Washington. Additional medical clinics and mobile medical clinics will be deployed at Tyson facilities as needed.
“Tyson Fresh Meats has worked well with local community leaders to make sure its re-opening plan is safe,” said Dr. Dori Ditty, health officer of Cass County Health Department. “We toured the plant and feel the additional measures implemented will allow employees to work safely, while continuing to follow CDC guidelines and recommendations. We’ll continue to closely monitor the situation to ensure the safety of employees.”
Tyson Fresh Meats’ recently announced its plans to temporarily halt operations at its Dakota City, Nebraska, beef plant for additional deep cleaning and sanitation. The group also voluntarily idled its locations in Waterloo and Perry, Iowa, and Pasco, Washington, while team members undergo testing and plants complete deep cleaning of the facilities.
“While this is an incredibly challenging time for the food industry, as it is for all Americans, Tyson is proud of our team members and their commitment toward our mission to put food on the tables of millions of homes around the country,” the company said.