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Multiple COVID-19 Cases Confirmed At Tyson Meatpacking Plant In Finney County

County health officials confirmed on Wednesday multiple COVID-19 cases among employees of the Tyson Fresh Meats plant in Holcomb.

UPDATE: Wednesday, April 22 5:48 p.m.

Local officials on Wednesday confirmed multiple cases of COVID-19 at a meatpacking plant in Finney County. There is also now evidence of community spread. 

The Finney County Health Department confirmed multiple cases of the coronavirus among Tyson employees at the company’s plant in Holcomb. But those officials did not say how many cases have been tied to the meatpacking plant, which employs 3,800 people.

This, just a few days after the Finney County Health Department began testing up to 50 people per day.

The health department said it will not release the specific number of positive cases at Tyson, but Finney County Health Department Director Colleen Drees said Tyson is complying with county, state and federal guidelines on sanitation and social distancing.

“We are working on identifying a proper process to refer potential Tyson employees to the COVID hotline for screening,” Drees said.

Tyson said it is keeping workers safe and wouldn’t speculate on whether the plant would need to close. 

In a news release, the health department also said, “there is evidence of
community spread of the disease," meaning the health department has found five or more cases that cannot be traced to a single source. 

The number of cases in Finney County rose by 15 cases on Wednesday, bringing the county’s total to 56.

Corinne Boyer covers western Kansas for High Plains Public Radio and the Kansas News Service. You can follow her on Twitter @Corinne_Boyer or email cboyer (at) hppr (dot) org.

The Kansas News Service is a collaboration of KCUR, Kansas Public Radio, KMUW and High Plains Public Radio focused on health, the social determinants of health and their connection to public policy.

Kansas News Service stories and photos may be republished by news media at no cost with proper attribution and a link to ksnewsservice.org