75 coronavirus cases, 1 death reported at Wayne Farms in Albertville

Updated: Apr. 20, 2020 at 10:22 PM CDT
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ALBERTVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Wayne Farms is confirming the number of COVID-19 cases at its Albertville facility.

Spokesman Frank Singleton said as of Sunday there have been 75 positive cases and one death.

He said 250 people are either quarantining or taking voluntary time off as a precaution.

He said the employee who passed away had self-reported flu-like symptoms nearly two weeks ago. He last worked on April 9 and his COVID diagnosis was reported to company occupational health officials on April 17.

“We’re saddened to learn of the loss of one of our team members from this virus,” said Kevin McDaniel, Wayne Farms vice president and general manager of fresh operations. “Our condolences and prayers go out to his family and loved ones.”

Singleton said there are roughly 850 workers on site.

He said the company continues to operate the facility on a limited production schedule under stringent prevention and sanitation protocols.

Company protocol states employees testing positive and those who have had contact are not allowed to return to work until they are cleared by health officials in accordance with CDC guidelines.

Preventative practices at the Albertville facility include:

  • Doubling-down on the sanitation program—beyond the regular sanitation process, every area of the plant is getting sanitized and fogged, including breakrooms, hallways and offices
  • Installing infrared temperature sensors to screen all employees/visitors/suppliers before entry
  • Staggering start and break times to help with distancing, and waiving minor tardiness to avoid crowding and close quarters
  • Installing dividers in breakrooms and on the debone line and other areas to provide barriers between employees
  • Providing face coverings/masks free of charge for use throughout plant, in addition to required plastic smocks, hairnets, and gloves
  • Following stringent positive COVID contact protocol—checking all contact points—both work and personal—of employees with a positive COVID-19 diagnosis, from work association to rides or carpools and social contacts
  • Asking employees to respect and follow preventative guidance from the CDC—staying home and minimizing social contact, wearing face masks or covers in public, regular handwashing
  • Reporting any positive COVID-19 contacts outside of work-major or minor—rides, social contacts, house guests—any potential transmission point
  • Reporting any flu-like symptoms to occupational health and constantly reminding employees to stay home if sick

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