Public Finally Learns Extent Of Tama Plant Outbreak

Specific numbers have now come out about the extent of coronavirus cases out of the National Beef meat processing facility in Tama.

The Iowa Department of Public Health reported Sunday that additional surveillance testing had been done at the Tama plant and the Tyson facility in Columbus Junction. Each had over 500 tests.

Results showed 177 positive tests for the Tama plant. Yesterday, it reopened for business, a week after closing.

The Tama plant is the site of one of the earliest reported outbreaks. After “several” workers tested positive, the plant suspended operations on April 13 to clean the facility.

The local newspaper tried to reach out to National Beef and the Iowa Department of Public Health for more information but was denied.

“Last Friday a spokesperson for National Beef told The Chronicle the company was not providing any additional information other than the earlier report the plant would reopen on Monday, April 20, after a cleaning process was complete,” the paper reported.

Another outbreak reported at a Tyson plant in Columbus Junction has gotten more press coverage since it was announced in early April. Part of the reason is because it turned Louisa County into one of the biggest per-capita hotspots in the country.

On Sunday, those positive surveillance tests from Tyson and National Beef plants in Iowa made up 67 percent of Iowa’s new cases that day, or 261 out of the 389.

Tama County is also the location of Premier Estates of Toledo, a long-term care facility that has reported 50 positive cases among residents and staff.

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According to the New York Times tracker, cases in Tama County are growing faster. Currently, it has an infection rate equivalent to 1,155 cases per 100,000 people. That puts it behind Louisa County with an equivalent of 1,925 per 100,000.


By Nikoel Hytrek
Posted: 4/21/20

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