ST. JOSEPH, MO. – According to results released by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS), 373 employees at Triumph Foods’ pork processing plant in St. Joseph, Mo., tested positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19), with all of them being asymptomatic.

Mark Campbell, chief executive officer of Triumph Foods, confirmed in a video message on May 3 that lab results so far showed around 17% of workers tested positive for the virus.  

“Of all positive test results received thus far, over 90% have been collected from asymptomatic people,” Campbell said. “Those with positive results are being notified and have been asked to self-isolate at home. They will be paid according to our COVID wage continuation policy.”

Last week, 1,500 Triumph employees had samples collected for testing and those results are pending. Employees with positive results are being notified by the St. Joseph Health Department. 

“Our mission remains to protect health and keep Missourians safe,” said Dr. Randall Williams, director of DHSS. “We appreciate the willingness from employees of Triumph Foods to be tested and the collaboration with local health care providers to help prevent further spread of COVID-19 in this community. Partnering with providers and local health departments to test people, both symptomatic and asymptomatic, is part of our ‘box-in’ strategy with this virus moving forward.” 

At the request of the City of St. Joseph Health Department, the state is sending staff support to assist with contact tracing efforts, and more testing is expected as close contacts of COVID-19 patients are notified.

“I want to thank the state of Missouri for their active engagement and making these virus tests kits available, the professional work of Northwest health services, and the Missouri National Guard for running such an organized testing program,” Campbell said. “All of this could not have occurred without a strong partnership and continuous communication with state, county and city health officials.”