There’s yet another meat packing plant in Iowa facing a COVID-19 outbreak, but plant leaders won’t disclose how many people are sick.
As KCCI reported last evening, the Tyson plant in Perry, Iowa, about a half hour northwest of the Des Moines metro, confirmed that several employees have tested positive for the coronavirus. But they won’t say exactly how many, citing privacy concerns.
“For privacy out of our team members, we are not disclosing the number of confirmed cases,” said Liz Croston, a spokesperson for Tyson. “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.”
It’s not clear how, in a plant of 1,300 employees, simply releasing the number of infected would violate any worker’s privacy unless literally all 1,300 employees were sick. More likely, the move is to avoid calls for a shut down of the plant, which would cost the company money.
State Auditor Rob Sand called on Tyson to disclose the information, saying they know there’s not actually any privacy concerns at stake.
This is public health, not private health.
Tyson know there is no privacy concern in anonymous data.
— Rob Sand (@RobSandIA) April 18, 2020
State and local officials have been reporting out how many employees tested positive at the Columbus Junction plant, which shut down last week amid a huge outbreak, causing the region to become a national hot spot for the virus.
The local Perry newspaper reported that employees were telling them that 27 workers had tested positive for COVID-19.
Starting Line reported earlier in the week that a Perry plant worker told us they knew of many people who had tested positive, including their own parent, who lives with eight other people in their home. They said that the plant only began implementing safety changes early last week, though the Perry plant was the only location of workers we spoke with that said they had been issued face coverings.
Rumors of an outbreak in Perry had started one week ago.
It’s the latest meat packing plant in Iowa and around the Midwest facing a serious outbreak that threatens the lives of workers and puts the nation’s food supply at risk. Waterloo is currently grappling with a suspected major outbreak at their Tyson plant, with local officials calling on the facility to temporarily shut down.
by Pat Rynard
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