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Smithfield Will Reopen Monmouth Facility; Another COVID-19 Outbreak in McDonough County

Courtesy the CDC

Smithfield Foods said it will reopen its pork-processing plant in Monmouth.

The company closed the plant just a few days ago because some workers tested positive for COVID-19. And Warren County has experienced a spike in confirmed cases of the virus. The state reported 56 cases in the county as of Wednesday.

Smithfield plans to reopen parts of the facility on Saturday, and the full plant will open Monday for all workers and all shifts.

The plant employs 1,700 workers.

In a release, the company said it supports President Donald Trump’s use of the Defense Production Act to reopen meat processing plants across the country.

Other meat packing plants have also been hit with COVID-19 cases. 92 workers at a Tyson Foods plant in Joslin have tested positive for the infection. Two of them have died.

Nita Ludwig, the Administrator of the Rock Island County Health Department, said they are working with managers at the Tyson plant to implement social distancing, slower production, and other measures to prevent the infection from spreading.

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Rock Island County totals 426, and more than 21% of those patients are Tyson employees.

(Thanks to Michelle O’Neill of WVIK for the details about the Tyson plant)

McDonough County Outbreak

The McDonough County Health Department (MCHD) reported a second outbreak of COVID-19.

The latest outbreak involves a residential facility operated by Mosaic, which describes itself as an organization that serves the needs of people with disabilities.

One COVID-19 case was reported at the facility on Wednesday. The MCHD said the state defines an outbreak at a supported residential facility as at least one positive case along with other cases of people from the facility who are ill with symptoms.

One day earlier, the county health department reported a similar outbreak at The Lamoine assisted living facility.  The department said it is working to identify those who have been in contact with The Lamoine’s residents.

Overall, the MCHD reported two new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday; one is a man in his 20s, the other is a woman in her 20s. 

The total number of cases in McDonough County is now 14.

This story was produced by Tri States Public Radio.  TSPR relies on financial support from our readers and listeners in order to provide coverage of the issues that matter to west central Illinois, southeast Iowa, and northeast Missouri. As someone who values the content created by TSPR's news department please consider making a financial contribution.