Albertville plants give mixed responses when questioned on COVID-19

Albertville plants give mixed responses when questioned on COVID-19

ALBERTVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Multiple viewers reached out to WAFF in the aftermath of its reporting on Wayne Farms to investigate other plants in Albertville for COVID-19.

WAFF made calls to other plants in the city, and the results were mixed.

Alatrade Director of Operations Kevin Parnell said there were nine positive cases at its Albertville location, with two of the individuals recovered. He said there are roughly 650 workers at the Albertville location.

He said there’s only one case in Boaz, with roughly 300 workers on site.

He sent WAFF the following statement:

Alatrade Foods is committed to the safety and welfare of our AlaTrade family. Since the beginning of this pandemic, our employees have been committed to keeping the nations food supply moving. Because of that commitment, we have been taking many precautions to ensure that they have the safest working environment possible. Among others, these steps include enhanced plant sanitation, checking temperatures of employees coming into work, requiring hand sanitizing before plant entrance, and staggering breaks to allow greater social distancing. Our management team has been very proactive in evaluating and identifying employees with any symptoms and then having those employees quarantined. Our employees have been very helpful in communicating to us when they or a family member has experienced any COVID-19 symptoms. Our team’s commitment, more than anything, has allowed us to keep operating during difficult circumstances. We will continue to look for ways to help keep our people safe from this virus.

The OK Foods Corporate office said it would research the case numbers and then respond. As of this publication, the office has not reached back out.

Tyson Foods sent a statement that reads:

A video statement from Hector Gonzalez, our Senior Vice President, U.S. Human Resources, is available for download that you’re welcome to use. You can find more video, photos and links to recent blogs about our efforts to protect workers on our coronavirus media resources page.

We have confirmed cases of team members at some of our U.S. locations. Since this is an ever-changing situation, we are not disclosing the number of confirmed cases associated with a plant. Below I have provided information on the measures we are taking to protect our team members. For more information, and for access to some visual assets you could use in your story, click on the links below which are a couple of blog posts on Tyson’s efforts:

Q&A: Why We’re Using Walk-Through Temperature Scanners [thefeed.blog]

We’re working hard to protect our team members during this ever-changing situation, while also ensuring we continue fulfilling our critical role of helping feed people across the country.

We’ve been checking worker temperatures as they arrive at the facility. We’re mandating and providing face coverings and have initiated additional cleaning. We’ve implemented social distancing measures, such as installing workstation dividers and providing more breakroom space. We relaxed our attendance policy in March to encourage workers to stay at home when they’re sick. We’ve also been educating team members on COVID-19, including the importance of following CDC guidelines away from work.

When we learn an employee has experienced symptoms and tested positive, they remain on sick leave until they are released by health officials to return to work. We also affirmatively notify anyone who has been in close contact with the positive team member.

Pilgrim’s Pride has not yet responded to requests for comment.

Congressman Robert Aderholt said if any plant workers don’t feel safe, they should speak up, and his office is here to help.

“We would try to maybe reach out to company and see if there’s someone to call on their behalf, because I certainly don’t want a company like that to shut down, and I don’t want the coronavirus to spread, so we’d do anything we can from our office to help them," he said.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, has an anonymous tip line for concerns.

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