100 workers test positive in COVID-19 outbreak at Tyson Fresh Meats plant near Pasco


Tyson Fresh Meats announced Thursday it would temporarily stop production at its Walla Walla County plant while workers undergo testing.

The company said workers will continue to be compensated and will isolate at home until results return.

The plant produces enough beef in one day to feed four million people, according to Tyson Foods, that said health officials visited the plant recently to inspect social distancing measures that include workstation dividers and more breakroom space

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100 workers at the Tyson Fresh Meats plant in Wallula have tested positive for COVID-19, according to the Walla Walla County Department of Community Health, that has mandated the company add new preventative measures and required all 1,400 plant workers be tested for the virus.

KEPR-TV reported Wednesday that a Tyson Fresh Meats worker died after battling the coronavirus and his family believes he got sick while working at the plant.

The Walla Walla County Department of Community Health said the outbreak is part of a surge in cases locally and that most of the sick Tyson workers live in the neighboring Tri-Cities.

Health officials say testing at the Walla Walla County meatpacking facility will take place within the next week and may temporarily force the plant to close depending on the speed of testing. Workers will be required to stay home until their test results come back.

Parent company Tyson Foods said Wednesday it planned to indefinitely close its massive Waterloo, Iowa plant because of the coronavirus and temporarily close its Indiana plant so more than 2,000 workers there could be tested. This has deepened concerns about a national meat shortage with COVID-19 clusters reported at more than a dozen meatpacking plants in the U.S.