CDC arrives on Eastern Shore to help contain COVID-19

Posted at 2:37 PM, Apr 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-29 06:46:15-04

NORFOLK, Va. - A team from the Centers for Disease Control is now on the ground on the Eastern Shore to try and help contain the spread of COVID-19, the Department of Health said Tuesday.

Accomack County is seeing a growing number of cases linked to outbreaks at two poultry plants, Perdue and Tyson Foods. A week ago Accomack County had 52 confirmed cases. As of Tuesday morning, there are now 223.

"We've seen a pretty significant uptick in cases over the past week," said Jon Richardson, the Environmental Health Manager for the Eastern Shore Health District.

Now, the CDC is helping to track and mitigate the spread on the Eastern Shore. "Those workers in many cases are not able to maintain social distancing in their workplace because of the way the workplace is set up and because of the work they're doing," said Richardson.

On Monday, workers protested outside of Perdue, calling on it to be closed for cleaning for two weeks, WBOC-TV reported.

Both Perdue and Tyson Foods say they are taking several steps to keep employees safe, including masks, temperate checks and partitions between employees. They are not disclosing the number of employees who have tested positive.

Still, it's not just the poultry plant workers. News 3 spoke with a home healthcare worker who tested positive last week. "You could've been reading my obituary instead of talking to me about it," said Samira Brooks, who tested positive for COVID-19 following days of body aches and a fever.

"It was bad. It was really bad just to lay in your bed and be in agonizing pain and not be able to do anything about it," Brooks said.

About a week later, Brooks said she is feeling a lot better, but still has a persistent cough. She's not sure how she contracted it, but thinks potentially when out shopping for her patients. "We are front line workers. Home healthcare workers are front line workers," she said.

None of her patients, who are generally elderly, have gotten sick. "I'm definitely relieved they're okay," she said. "It could've been totally different."

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