Hundreds of Tyson Foods employees screened for COVID-19 after Wilkes County outbreak

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WILKES COUNTY, N.C. – A major coronavirus battle is waging in Wilkes County.

The Wilkes County Health Department has selected 200 employees who work at the Tyson food processing plant, which employs more than 1,000 people in Wilkesboro.

The health department said the plant was linked to most county coronavirus cases, which now number 127.

Tyson Foods, in concert with the health department, hopes that these screenings can slow the number of people infected.

“The health service is in the establishment. They help them and show them what to do, “said Eddie Settle, Chair of the Wilkes County Commission.

This epidemic does not only affect people working in Wilkesboro.

“Tyson has people – they bring loads of some Forsyth vans from Guilford,” said Settle.

Wilkes County officials said they did not disclose the total number of Tyson employees infected with the virus at this time.

“People are quarantined at home. We only have five cases in the hospital and 40 have recovered, “said Settle.

Settle said it was not the only facility in Wilkesboro attacked by COVID-19.

“We have an epidemic at the Wilkes health and rehabilitation center,” he said.

He said there were three residents and one staff member who tested positive for the virus and they are also working on tests there.

County officials expect the number of COVID cases to increase in the coming weeks due to increased testing.

The county also releases information to the public every day.

“Let everyone know how many cases we have and the zip codes of where they live,” said Settle.

Tyson Foods business leaders also said they will provide a mobile health clinic at the plant on Wednesday.

It will be used to perform additional tests and give staff members access to a nurse practitioner regarding their health concerns.

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