After reopening following a deep cleaning, almost 600 workers at a Tyson chicken plant in Wilkesboro, North Carolina, have tested positive for COVID-19. That amounted to nearly a quarter of the 2,244 workers who were tested sometime between May 6 and May 9.
Most workers who tested positive were asymptomatic and would not have known they were infected if they had not been tested, the company said.
The plant had previously shut down as a result of a coronavirus outbreak, something that has become increasingly common at meat processing plants throughout the country.
"We are working closely with local health departments to protect our team members and their families, and to help manage the spread of the virus in our communities," said Tom Brower, senior vice president of health and safety for Tyson Foods. "We are using the most up-to-date data and resources to support our team members, and we are committed to ensuring they feel safe and secure when they come to work."
Tyson places all coronavirus-positive workers on paid leave and require them to pass both CDC and Tyson-implemented health criteria before returning to work.