FRESNO, CALIF. – In a recent statement, Foster Farms Inc. announced that 193 workers tested positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19) in the last two weeks at one of its Fresno County, Calif., poultry processing plants.
The company shut down the one Fresno plant for deep cleaning Dec. 5-6 and reopened on Dec. 7.
According to Ira Brill, vice president of communication for Foster Farms, every employee that tested positive for COVID-19 was asymptomatic. Approximately 1,400 people work at the Fresno facility on Cherry Street.
“All asymptomatic positive individuals, along with those identified as close contacts, have been advised to self-isolate and seek any necessary medical attention,” Brill said. “They will receive all appropriate medical benefits. Foster Farms regularly communicates with the Fresno Public Health Department and has already shared testing results advising of an outbreak.”
The company reported in September that two employees died due to the virus. Other media reports said at least eight employees have died from COVID-19 complications
Brill said Foster Farms has performed more than 35,000 COVID-19 tests and is currently testing all workers at major processing facilities at least once per week.
Once the facility is reopened Brill said employees at the Fresno facilities will be tested twice per week.
Foster Farms also confirmed that there was recently an outbreak at its Livingston, Calif., poultry plant. This facility was previously closed Sept. 1-7 due to a COVID-19 outbreak.
“Until mid-November our asymptomatic testing prevalence was consistently less than 1% at all facilities,” Brill said. “By screening against symptomatic workers entering the plant, and removing asymptomatic workers identified by continuous company testing, we aim to make the plant work environment as free from COVID-19 as possible.”