Eastern Shore poultry plant workers get tested

Posted at 1:46 PM, May 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-05 16:39:11-04

ACCOMACK COUNTY, Va. - Employees at two poultry processing facilities are getting tested for COVID-19, the Department of Health said Tuesday.

More than 260 cases of COVID-19 have been linked to the Tyson Foods and Perdue Farms plants. The CDC has met with the companies. "They said the plants appear to be doing everything they can to protect their employees. They're taking all the actions that they can do," said Larry Hill, a spokesman for the Department of Health.

Tyson Foods wrote on Facebook all employees will be tested between Tuesday and Wednesday. Perdue Farms didn't respond to a request for comment, but Hill said both facilities are now testing. "We're working over there diligently with the ownership of the agencies," he said.

On a per-capita basis, Accomack and Northampton Counties have the second and third most cases in the entire state, analysis from the Virginia Public Access Project shows.

This weekend the National Guard will be administering tests at Eastern Shore Community College from 10am-6pm Friday and 9am-4pm Saturday. The 1500 tests will be free to members of the community.

"I continue to be concerned about the rising number of cases in our poultry processing facilities, especially on the Eastern Shore," said Gov. Northam during his news conference on Monday.

The companies previously said they were working to ensure safety, including requiring temperature checks for employees, face coverings, and putting up partitions between employees.

"Our focus right now continues to be the Shore," said Northam. "We will continue to monitor the situation to ensure the plants are instituting safety measures to protect workers' health and that workers can access healthcare as needed," said Northam.

In addition, the National Guard has helped to test residents at a nursing home.