West Liberty Foods released updated numbers on Friday from their mass testing efforts last week. The company says 61 additional employees tested positive for COVID-19 at its West Liberty location, bringing the total number of confirmed coronavirus cases to 136 since April 5.
The plant employs just under 1,000 workers, so about 13.5 percent of the employees at the turkey processor location have now tested positive for the virus.
The company says an additional 96 employees who did not test positive are in quarantine anyway because they were in contact with someone who was positive for the virus.
This announcement comes after health officials administered 814 tests for West Liberty Foods employees at the facility last week.
The numbers do not include results from contractors or the local fire department, which were also tested. In total, around 1,000 tests were administered at the facility.
After the round of testing, the plant closed down to undergo deep cleaning from May 1 to the 3rd. It had also done so in early April.
The turkey processor said in a press release last month that they are requiring entry screenings, providing face masks to employees, staggering break times to comply with social distancing, and sanitizing all common areas and work equipment, all in an effort to curb the spread of the virus.
However, cases have more than tripled since that time.
The company has not said what its next steps are, whether they will close the facility or not, or set their next deep cleaning date.
This comes as Gov. Kim Reynolds begins to ease restrictions in 22 of Iowa’s hardest hit counties, including Muscatine County, where West Liberty is located.
by Michael Aragon
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