Foster Farms Has Two Active COVID-19 Outbreaks In Fresno Poultry Plants
Officials at the Fresno County Health Department said on Tuesday that Foster Farms has two active COVID-19 outbreaks in Fresno poultry plants.
The company shut down their Cherry Street plant in order to deep clean over the weekend after almost 200 asymptomatic employees tested positive for COVID-19. The plant has subsequently reopened.
Fresno County Department of Public Health interim health officer Dr. Rais Vohra said on Tuesday the department is investigating the “major outbreak.”
“I don’t have too many details because the investigation is still ongoing and we’re still trying to learn about exactly how this outbreak came to manifest, but we are talking with the leadership and with the medical team that’s at Foster Farms to make sure that people are getting the care and the attention they need,” he said.
County health officials are working with Foster Farms to verify exactly how many COVID-19 cases are in the plants, and the company is testing employees twice per week.
“The goal here is to identify as quickly as we can the positive cases,” Fresno County Department of Public Health director Dave Pomaville said. “Out of an abundance of caution, any positive tests we treat as if they are infectious and then they are isolated for 10 days and then screened for symptoms the last 24 hours before they can return to work.”
Foster Farms vice president of communications Ira Brill said workers get their temperature checked as they enter the plant, have staggered breaks, plexiglass dividers and continuous cleaning “to maximize or compensate for social distance where the workspace doesn’t entirely permit it.”
Foster Farms confirmed another outbreak at their Belgravia Avenue plant in Fresno on Tuesday. 12 employees have tested positive for COVID-19 over the past 14 days and over 1,000 people work at the plant.
Foster Farms temporarily shut down a poultry plant in Livingston, CA in September, where over 390 employees tested positive for COVID-19 and eight workers died from complications related to COVID-19.
The California Department of Public Health assessment on Tuesday set the remaining ICU capacity in Fresno County at 0%. 455 patients were hospitalized for treatment of suspected or confirmed COVID-19 infections in Fresno County on Monday, including 85 in ICUs.
Over 69.2 million cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed worldwide, with over 1.57 million deaths attributed to COVID-19.