Yesterday, we reported that 220 workers at the Tyson Foods plant in Sherman tested positive for coronavirus. Now, a statement from Tyson has increased the number of workers with the virus to 326. According to the company, 211 of the workers were tested when the Texas Division of Emergency Management and the National Guard between May 13 and 14. The other 115 cases were identified when workers sought care from their private health providers.
“We’re committed to making sure our team members are safe, healthy and protected and we value the collaboration provided by the Texas Division of Emergency Management to complement our existing prevention efforts,” said Tom Brower, senior vice president of Health and Safety for Tyson Foods. “Our team members deserve to feel safe and secure when they come to work, and we are supporting them with the most up-to-date information and resources to take care of their health.”
COVID-19 Continues to Ravage the Meatpacking Industry
The workers from the Sherman Tyson plant who have tested positive for coronavirus represent 20 percent of the 1,604 workers tested. There are about 1,745 people employed at this facility. Tyson says that workers who test positive for COVID-19 will receive paid leave until they are cleared to return to work.
While the company is taking steps to help workers now, it was the subject of criticism for its slow response to the virus and a lack of transparency with workers and the public. It also received scrutiny for an ad campaign that threatened a meat shortage if Tyson factories around the nation didn’t reopen. Several of the locations that reopened had significant viral outbreaks, including locations in Perry, Iowa, and Amarillo, Texas. Plants in these areas were tied to hundreds of COVID-19 cases among workers and the population near them. Another Tyson plant in Storm Lake, Iowa also confirmed that 555 of its employees—20 percent of its workforce—tested positive for COVID-19.