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Positive COVID-19 cases confirmed in workers at Tyson’s Dakota City plant

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DAKOTA CITY, Neb. (KTIV) - Tyson Fresh Meats officials say testing has detected COVID-19 in employees of the company's Dakota City, Nebraska, plant.

In an interview with KTIV, Tyson Fresh Meats Group President Steve Stouffer said "some positive cases" have been found at the Dakota City plant. But Stouffer couldn't say how many.

"The short answer to your question is, yes there have been some positives that have been found," said Stouffer.

The revelation comes as processing plants in several Midwest states deal with the spread of COVID-19. In this case, Stouffer says the affected employees have not returned to work since their positive test.

"We've been telling our team members for weeks now… actually for over a month now… that if anybody feels like they aren't feeling well, we've relaxed all of our attendance policies, and our expectation is if they don't feel good, they should stay home," Stouffer said.

Stouffer said preventing the spread of COVID-19 at the Dakota City plant starts at the front door.

"We've implemented things like thermal testing so that when employees come to the plant we're checking their temperature, and if they're showing signs of elevated temperature, we do not let them into the plant," Stouffer said. And, if workers don't feel well while on the job, they're asked to go home.

Stouffer said Tyson is following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's guidelines including masks for all employees.

"We're also putting barriers up in-between the work stations where our team members are out on the cut floor in places like that to create more social distancing," Stouffer said. There are also barriers in the plant's cafeteria to increase that social distancing, Soutffer said. And, he said the plant has increased sanitization and disinfection of common areas of the plant.

"Number one is our employee safety," said Stouffer. "That's why we're putting the efforts into the plant to do all of the things that we've done to try and protect our team members."

The number of confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 in Dakota County, Nebraska has more than tripled. On Friday, public health officials announced 16 additional cases in Dakota County, bringing the county's total to 25.

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Matt Breen

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