SPRINGDALE, ARK. – On June 11, Tyson Foods shared the results of facility-wide COVID-19 testing at its Berry Street poultry plant in Springdale, Ark. Testing took place from June 4 to June 6 with 199 positive tests, but only one being symptomatic. In addition, the local health department officials and personal care providers also identified 48 cases at the facility. Team members who test positive receive paid leave during the quarantine period required by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and may return to work only when they have met the criteria established by both the CDC and Tyson.
“As at Berry Street, we are routinely finding high levels of asymptomatic positives when we conduct large-scale testing at our facilities and because of that, we can do a public service by sharing the results with the local community,” said Tom Brower, senior vice president of health and safety for Tyson. “Conducting large-scale testing and disclosing the results goes a long way toward controlling the spread of the virus.”
Doug Sprouse, mayor of Springdale, added, “Tyson Foods has been part of the fabric of Arkansas since 1935, and we are grateful they have taken the proactive step of conducting testing in the Northwest region and disclosing the results. We are proud to collaborate with Tyson, and their leadership will help us better understand the impact of COVID-19 in our community and how best to protect the residents of Benton and Washington counties.”
The Berry Street facility is one among over 40 where Tyson has rolled out advanced testing to employees in partnership with medical clinical services company, Matrix Medical Network. Tyson continues to conduct facility-wide testing at its operations throughout Benton and Washington Counties where positive cases of COVID-19 have risen. The company will disclose results to help communities where it operates understand COVID-19 and the preventive measures necessary to prevent spread of the virus.
Occupational health care case management provider, Axiom Medical, will track the symptoms of those who test positive and provide additional care.
Tyson has also put in protective steps that meet or exceed CDC and OSHA guidelines to prevent COVID-19 from spreading including symptom screenings for all team members before every shift, mandatory protective face masks to all team members, as well as a range of social distancing measures, including physical barriers between workstations and in breakrooms.
“Our team members help provide a reliable food supply for the country, and it’s critical that they feel secure when they come to work,” said Matt Evans, Berry Street complex manager. “The health and safety of our team members is our top priority, and testing is among the many actions we are taking to ensure our team members and their families are protected.”
Tyson Foods has increased short-term disability coverage to 90% of normal pay until June 30 to encourage team members to stay home when they are sick. The company also has doubled its “thank you” bonus for its frontline workers. Team members who cannot come to work because of illness or childcare issues related to COVID-19 will continue to qualify.
Tyson has worked closely with the US Department of Agriculture to provide onsite testing to USDA inspectors assigned to both Tyson and competitor-operated facilities throughout the region. The Department of Health conducts testing. Tyson does not have access to the results of those tests.