WORTHINGTON, M.N. (KELO) – It’s become the second highest county for coronavirus cases in Minnesota, and it’s just an hour away from Sioux Falls.
Health officials confirmed 258 cases in Nobles County, which is where the JBS pork production facility is located.
The Minnesota Department of Health wants all JBS employees to have the opportunity to get tested for COVID-19. That’s why a drive up testing center is set up at the Nobles County Fairgrounds in Worthington. It will be open for four days. KELOLAND News was at that center today to see how it was working from a safe distance away.
“It is voluntary, it just makes it more convenient so that we can assist a larger number of people. As I said, we have the testing at our clinic also, but everybody wants the convenience as well as the quick ability to get tested,” Jennifer Weg, executive director of Sanford Worthington said.
Employees must bring their JBS cards with them and there is no charge. The testing center is set up inside of the ice arena.
“This is really a community services and community involvement to make this happen. So many people need to be tested, want to be tested, so our partnership here allows that to happen,” Wen said.
Minnesota has a stay-at-home order in place until May 4. The state health department is encouraging JBS employees to stay home. If they need to go out for essential items, they should wear something to cover their mouth and nose.
“I think it really compliments what Governor Walz wants to do in that bringing more testing, it allows us to get back to our normal sooner than later,” Weg said.
The testing will continue through Sunday.
Meanwhile at Smithfield Foods in Sioux Falls, health officials confirmed 1,033 cases are connected to the plant. That includes employees and people they had contact with.