Smithfield Foods in South Dakota is now the largest coronavirus hotspot in the United States


A team from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has arrived in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, to help with the hot spot of Smithfield Foods coronavirus, which has become the single largest source of cases in the United States.

Eighty of the 180 new COVID-19 cases from South Dakota are employees of the meat processing company, bringing the total to 518 Smithfield Foods employees who tested positive. There are also now 126 total cases of non-employees who became infected when they contacted an employee at Smithfield, according to the South Dakota Department of Health.

The 518 employees and 126 non-employees connected to Smithfield make it the largest cluster in the country (644), according to the New York Times. The previous upper group had 585 cases aboard USS Theodore Roosevelt in Guam.

Verification of the facts: Smithfield Foods does not sell meat that has been slaughtered and processed in China

Smithfield announced Sunday that it will close its Sioux Falls plant indefinitely on Wednesday. The plant has 3,700 employees.

Governor Kristi Noem said the state “aggressively tests” Smithfield workers and those in contact with them, and puts people in solitary confinement as soon as possible.

Slideshow by photo servicesThe CDC team is scheduled to visit the Smithfield plant on Thursday morning and create a checklist of items to complete before the plant reopens, Noem said at a press conference on Wednesday. Noem said she was working with federal officials and Smithfield executives to get the plant back online to ease pork producers and the food chain.

Health Secretary Kim Malsam-Rysdon said he asked the CDC to hire occupational health experts to help the state understand the plight of Smithfield coronavirus and what the company can do to protect it its workers. Smithfield is cooperating with the state and they are looking forward to mitigation efforts so the plant can reopen, said Malsam-Rysdon.

Hot spots in the United States

Smithfield Foods meat packing plant; Sioux Falls, S.D. 644

Aboard the U.S. Theodore Roosevelt; Guam, 585

Cook County Jail; Chicago, 524

Parnall Correctional Institution; Jackson, Mich., 212

Soldiers’ House at Holyoke; Holyoke, Mass., 194

Source: The New York Times

This article originally appeared on Sioux Falls Argus Leader: Smithfield Foods in South Dakota is now the largest coronavirus hotspot in the United States.


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