UPDATE: Buchanan County food plant reports 359 positive COVID-19 cases

4 weeks 1 day 23 hours ago Saturday, May 02 2020 May 2, 2020 Saturday, May 02, 2020 11:15:00 AM CDT May 02, 2020 in News
By: Greta Serrin, Maggie Madro and Leah Vredenbregt, KOMU 8 Digital Producers

ST. JOSEPH - As of Saturday morning, 359 employees and contract workers of Triumph Foods have received positive test results for COVID-19.

Last week, Triumph Foods in St. Joseph had 46 employees test positive for COVID-19. On Monday, comprehensive testing of asymptomatic employees began, and of the 707 employees tested, 92 tested positive.

After further testing on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, the plant's total on Friday was 295 employees had tested positive. 

The confirmed cases from testing is coming out on a rolling basis, according to a news release Saturday morning. Updates will continue to be provided throughout the weekend.

In response, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) and partners are offering COVID-19 testing to all employees and contract staff at Triumph Foods.

DHSS, the City of St. Joseph Health Department, Northwest Health Services and Mosaic Life Care all partnered to together to offer COVID-19 tests.

DHSS said in a press release that 916 employees were tested this past Tuesday, and 709 more employees were tested on Wednesday and Thursday. The total number of tests done is over 2,300. 

Any Triumph Food employee who needs to be tested can do so next week through the mobile testing site by Northwest Health Services. 

“We continue to work closely with our partners to monitor this situation,” Dr. Randall Williams, director of DHSS, said. “Many thanks to the employees for the important work that they do and for their willingness to be tested and to follow our guidance which will prevent further spread of this virus.”

According to Triumph Foods' website, they are increasing social distancing in the workplace, have mandatory temperature screening for all employees before entering work and are increasing sanitation efforts in the facility, among other measures.

Triumph Foods' facility in St. Joseph opened in 2006 and processes more than 6 million hogs each year.

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