Meatpacking plants around the country have been ravaged by coronavirus infections, in part due to working conditions, and in part due to the meat industry’s poor response to the coronavirus pandemic. Tyson, one of the largest meat processing companies in the world, has faced increased scrutiny for paying bonuses to workers to keep plants open.
Now, as Tyson is finally providing coronavirus tests to its employees, we’re able to see the scale of the pandemic’s effect on our meat industry. In Amarillo, Tyson has conducted tests for all 3,587 employees. About half of those test results have been turned in, and the findings are shocking: a total of 410 confirmed cases have been found at the Amarillo Tyson plant alone.
Many of these cases are asymptomatic, so workers are spreading the disease without even being aware that they’re ill. Ginger Nelson, mayor of Amarillo, said that there were likely numerous city residents who are sick and exposing people to the illness at grocery stores, at work, and elsewhere.
“That’s why it’s so important to wear a mask,” Mayor Nelson said. “You could be that person. You don’t even know you’re sick.”
The Amarillo Tyson COVID-19 cases make up nearly a quarter of the total cases in Amarillo, which was at 1,865 as of yesterday. However, the City of Amarillo’s Public Health Authority, Dr. Scott Milton, said the number of infected could be as high as 10x the reported number of confirmed cases.
Tyson Received Widespread Testing. JBS Did Not.
Last week, we reported on the JBS COVID-19 outbreak in Cactus that may have led to 243 infections and 1 death. Casie Stoughton, director of public health, was asked why the Tyson plant received widespread testing when the JBS plant in Cactus had not. Stoughton revealed that widespread testing was offered to and accepted by Tyson, which doesn’t quite answer the whole question.
As Tyson employees and other meatpacking companies suffer from COVID-19 nationwide, widespread testing will be a vital tool for controlling the spread of infection—especially as the meat industry remains determined to operate at normal capacity through the pandemic. With Texas in the middle of reopening, it’s vital that meatpacking plants take every precaution to protect their employees, families, and communities.
If you or a loved one got sick from COVID-19 while working at Tyson, JBS, Cargill, or any other meatpacking plant, speak with our COVID-19 attorneys in a free consultation to learn your options.
Call (888) 493-1629 or use our short online form today!