SPRINGDALE, ARK. – Tyson Foods Inc. announced the results of its facility-wide testing for COVID-19 that was conducted at its Pasco, Wash., beef plant. The Walla Walla County Department of Community Health (DCH) and Providence St. Mary Medical Center tested 1,482 employees and non-Tyson personnel who work at the facility and 277 tested positive. Of those testing positive, more than half did not show any symptoms.
Tyson Fresh Meats, the beef and pork processing subsidiary of Tyson Foods Inc., announced limited production at the Pasco plant starting May 5 after operations were idled on April 23 for deep cleaning and sanitization.
“Walla Walla County is proud to collaborate with Tyson Foods and Providence St. Mary Medical Center to manage this virus in our community. All individuals with COVID-19 in the county, as well as their close contacts, are instructed to isolate or quarantine at home until they are released by their healthcare provider or public health,” said Meghan DeBolt, Department of Community Health Director, DCH.
The total number of positive cases comprises 126 people who had already tested positive with their own health care providers – the rest of the cases were identified through the facility-wide testing. Employees who test positive receive paid leave and can return to work after they have met the criteria established by both the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Tyson.
“Our top priority is the health and safety of our team members, and we appreciate the collaboration and support of Walla Walla County Department of Community Health and Providence St. Mary Medical Center to provide testing and complement our existing prevention efforts,” said Tom Brower, senior vice president of Health and Safety for Tyson Foods. “As we learn more about this virus, we continue to do everything we can to protect our team members and ensure they feel safe and secure when they come to work. We’re proud of our Tyson team members and are supporting them with the most up-to-date information and resources to take care of their health.”
The large-scale testing at the Pasco facility took place from April 24 to 25 while it was shut down for cleaning and sanitation. More than half of the individuals who tested positive are now considered to be recovered.
Tyson is conducting similar facility-wide testing at other plants around the country and will disclose the results as they are completed.
“Our team members are essential to helping feed the nation, and their health and safety is always our first priority,” said Brad Anderson, manager at the Pasco facility. “Disclosing our testing results will help better protect our team members and help provide the wider Pasco community with the information it needs to stop the spread of the virus.”