Health officials have tested more than 1,000 Tyson Fresh Meats plant workers for COVID-19 in Wallula, Washington, near Pasco. As of Friday afternoon, 111 have tested positive in the plant that slaughters and processes beef products.
Workers said they were concerned that they were still cutting meat a day after the company announced that it was taking a “pause.”
After their shifts, workers lined up in the plant’s cafeteria to get tested for COVID-19. Health officials say they’re using phone translation services because about a dozen languages are spoken inside the plant.
Walla Walla County health director Meghan DeBolt says workers work close together inside.
“It’s just pretty much the perfect breeding ground for COVID-19 and a complete public health nightmare,” DeBolt said.
DeBolt says now workers will isolate at home while they’re waiting for test results.
The plant has been the site of a growing number of cases over the past week, with Tyson saying it would implement more safety measures to address further inspections and avoid shutting down.
Earlier this week, the central Washington fruit giant Stemilt
had tested positive for COVID-19 around its field operation in the Wenatchee area.