WILKESBORO, NC. – After initial testing for the coronavirus (COVID-19) at Tyson Foods Inc.’s chicken processing plant in Wilkes County, NC, indicated the majority of the positive cases in the community were linked to an outbreak there, the company reportedly suspended operations for three days to deep clean and sanitize the facility. Processing is expected to resume May 12.

According to Wilkes County, health department officials conducted 200 on-site tests for the virus with 39 positive cases confirmed on May 8. The company planned to continue testing at the plant through May 9 and the number of cases was expected to increase based on the additional testing. The facility employs about 2,000 workers. Wilkes reported 194 positive cases in the county as of June 8. The Town of Wilkesboro confirmed several cases of the virus among Tyson employees as early as April 28. Tyson also operates a foodservice-focused facility in Wilkesboro, which has not been affected by the virus, according to reports.

Tyson Foods did not respond to requests for information about the closure.