coronavirus

Shelbyville Tyson plant closing for deep cleaning Monday after COVID-19 outbreak

Coronavirus

SHELBYVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The Shelbyville Tyson Foods plant is closing Monday for deep cleaning after the Tennessee State Health Dept. confirmed cases of COVID-19 at the facility.

According to a company spokeperson, the deep cleaning will include sanitation of common areas and the plant will reopen on Tuesday.

This comes after a COVID-19 outbreak of 120 employees at the Goodlettsville plant.

Nashville Health Director Dr. Michael Caldwell said in a press conference Thursday morning that he visited the plant Wednesday with CDC and the state health department and he did not think it needed to be shut down.

“I am satisfied at this point they are doing everything they can so that disease transmission is minimized,” Caldwell said, “What I am concerned about is when they leave the plant and are in their communities.”

The Tyson spokesperson assured News 2 in a statement Thursday that they are putting safety measures in place at all factories including:

  • Allowing more time between shifts to reduce worker interaction. 
  • Giving team members more space by erecting large tents to serve as outdoor break rooms. 
  • Removing chairs in some break rooms so there is more space between the workers. 
  • Eliminating conference room meetings and the size of new orientation classes. 

Bedford County Mayor Chad Graham said he and the EMA director are in close contact with the state health department monitoring the Shelbyville plant.

It’s important to emphasize that there’s no evidence that COVID-19 can be transferred through food or food packaging.

What seems to be impacted most by COVID-19 outbreaks in factories is the production of meat. This week Tyson announced closures at two of their largest plants, in Iowa and Indiana.

According to the company’s website, they are responsible for 20 percent of the nation’s beef, pork, and chicken.

In a press release, group president of Tyson Fresh Meats Steve Stouffer noted the impact the closures would have on farmers.

““Closing facilities has serious implications to the national food supply for American families, local communities, growers and farmers,” Stouffer said. “When a facility closes, the availability of protein for consumers across the nation will only decrease. Consumers will see an impact at the grocery store as production slows. It also means the loss of a vital market outlet for farmers and contributes to the disruption of the nation’s pork supply.” 

Stay with News 2 for continuing coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

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