Employee of Sanderson Farms plant in McComb tests positive for coronavirus

Updated: Mar. 23, 2020 at 1:00 PM CDT
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MCCOMB, Miss. (WLBT) - Sanderson Farms, Inc. confirmed Monday that an employee at the company’s McComb processing plant tested positive for novel coronavirus.

This individual’s work area was contained to one small processing table.

“Upon learning of this case, we took a number of immediate steps to protect the health and safety of our employees,” said CEO Joe F. Sanderson, Jr. “Following CDC and local health department guidelines, and procedures developed in consultation with an infectious disease physician, we identified six individuals in the work area who could be at risk, and those employees, along with the infected employee, have been sent home to self-quarantine with pay."

Sanderson said a thorough cleaning of the affected work area was conducted, as well as all other Sanderson Farms facilities. The company notified all other personnel at the McComb plant of the confirmed case and said they will follow the same procedures if other employees at any of facilities test positive for the virus. All facilities are operating as normal.

Sanderson Farms has implemented a site infection control plan at all its locations, ensuring the company’s health professionals have been trained to identify employees with symptoms of COVID-19.

Because very few jobs can be done remotely, said Sanderson, the company’s processing and production sites are continuously evaluating staffing needs, as well as on-site health and safety measures to manage through this pandemic.

Sanderson added, “Like health care and pharmaceutical providers, the food supply chain is critical to ensure the wellbeing of residents of the United States and other countries, and Federal government officials have encouraged food companies to continue operating. There are no known indications that novel coronavirus can be transmitted through food. Our first and most important priority is the health and wellbeing of our employees, and we continue to take precautionary measures to mitigate the spread of illness. We are actively monitoring this evolving situation to ensure we are operating in the safest manner possible.

Sanderson said he and all members of the company express their sympathy to those who have been affected by COVID-19, including their employee, and hope for their full recovery.

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