GREEN BAY, WIS. – JBS USA stated on May 5 that it will reopen its beef processing plant in Green Bay, Wis., in phases following a coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

The company said it initially reopened its harvest operations with reduced staff. 

“We expect operations to normalize over time as absenteeism rates decline in response to the preventive measures in place at the facility and as team members clear any necessary quarantine protocols,” said Cameron Bruett, corporate affairs spokesman for JBS.

Bruett said all the plant’s workers will be tested before returning to work.

Brown County health officials said on May 1 that 290 JBS employees tested positive for the coronavirus. There were also 58 linked cases to the facility. 

According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services on May 5, 1,448 COVID-19 cases have been reported in Brown County and six deaths. 

On April 26, the plant closed following growing cases of the virus in Brown County, Wis. Last week, the company said it would work with state and local health officials during the closure to ensure the safety of returning workers. JBS employees will follow Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers’ ‘Safer at Home Order’ while the plant is closed.