A Tyson Foods chicken-processing plant in North Carolina that reopened following a deep clean announced almost 600 workers have now tested positive for coronavirus.
The company has confirmed that 570 of its 2,244 full-time and contract employees have been infected in the Wilkesboro plant.
It is likely one of the largest coronavirus outbreaks in the state and affects 25.4 percent of the facility’s workforce.
Meat processing plants have become major outbreak hotspots across the country with more than 14,000 cases among workers causing concern for the nation’s food supply chain.
Companies say they have increased safety measures but unions have issued a warning that the federal safety guidelines can be ignored, leaving workers at risk.
Tyson Foods said that the majority of the workers who tested positive in the Wilkesboro plant were not showing symptoms and if they had not been tested ‘otherwise would not have been identified’.
The company had tested 2,007 employees at the plant for the virus between May 6 and May 9.
The other employees were tested by the the county health department or through their health care provider.
‘We are working closely with local health departments to protect our team members and their families, and to help manage the spread of the virus in our communities,’ said Tom Brower, Tyson’s senior vice president of health and safety.