More than 80 employees at Smithfield Foods in Sioux Falls test positive for COVID-19

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – The state health department confirmed more than 80 employees at Smithfield Foods have tested positive for COVID-19.

The state health department says there are new cases at the Sioux Falls meat packing plant every day.

“We are able to do contact tracing with all the positive cases, so that work continues so that we can make sure people are taking precautions and so at this point we do not feel there is a risk to people outside of those impacted,” Secretary of Health, Kim Malsam-Rysdon said.

Mayor Paul TenHaken says city leaders and the city health department are in close contact with officials at Smithfield Foods.

“We are on daily calls with them, and was actually just emailing with the plant manager last night, the CEO of Global Smithfield has been here as well to make sure the plant is taking the measures seriously,” Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHaken said.

The state says it’s also working with Smithfield Foods to make sure the plant is taking the proper steps to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

“We’ve been working to understand how they are communicating with employees, how they are helping employees check symptoms, check for potential signs, helping folks go home if needed or stay home if they are ill,” Malsam-Rysdon said. “They are looking at making sure the environment is cleaned, and cleaned more often than normal, as well as that employees have appropriate strategies in place to protect themselves.”

TenHaken says it is likely the city will continue to see more employers with positive cases within their businesses.

Smithfield Foods posted its COVID-19 response on its website.

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