CORONAVIRUS

Spike In Cache County COVID-19 Cases Linked To Meat Processing Plant

Jun 5, 2020, 6:41 PM

Bear River Health Department spokesman Joshua Greer....

Bear River Health Department spokesman Joshua Greer.

LOGAN, Utah – The Bear River Health District said a recent spike in confirmed COVID-19 cases is linked to an ongoing investigation at a local meat processing facility.

The Utah Department of Health reported 439 new cases statewide Friday, adding about 150 of those cases are tied directly to the meat plant.

“The spike in the numbers comes after mass testing events held over the past week where 1,300 tests were completed,” BRHD officials said in a statement.

The first results of these tests came in late Thursday evening but were delayed from state and private labs.

“The facility in question actually coordinated with the Utah Department of Health to come up and do some mass testing of their employees,” said Joshua Greer, BRHD spokesman.

“Many of the workers at this facility match the demographics of who we know are at the highest risk for infection,” said state epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn. “I expect to see additional cases of COVID-19 identified as part of this outbreak, both at the worksite and in the community.”

The workers who tested positive span just about all adult ages, Greer said.

“We are starting to see a few more under 18,” he said. “We are starting to see a few more of the over-60, which indicates that they were taking it home to our families.”

Greer did not name the plant, but said it continues to operate.

“As a meatpacking industry, the president has labeled them as an essential business and wants them to remain open,” Greer said.

Greer added it’s important that companies provide a safe environment for their employees.

“People need to stay home when they’re sick,” he said. “In industry, we’ve got to do better at allowing our employees to go home and get better.”

BRHD officials said staff is making every effort to get ahead of the outbreak.

The Utah National Guard has investigators on-site along with teams from other local health departments and from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


Coronavirus Resources

How Do I Prevent It?

The CDC has some simple recommendations, most of which are the same for preventing other respiratory illnesses or the flu:

  • Avoid close contact with people who may be sick
  • Avoid touching your face
  • Stay home when you are sick
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then throw the tissue in the trash
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. Always wash your hands with soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
The CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.

How To Get Help

If you’re worried you may have COVID-19, you can contact the Utah Coronavirus Information Line at 1-800-456-7707 to speak to trained healthcare professionals. You can also use telehealth services through your healthcare providers.

Additional Resources

If you see evidence of PRICE GOUGING, the Utah Attorney General’s Office wants you to report it. Common items in question include toilet paper, water, hand sanitizer, certain household cleaners, and even cold medicine and baby formula. Authorities are asking anyone who sees price gouging to report it to the Utah Division of Consumer Protection at 801-530-6601 or 800-721-7233. The division can also be reached by email at consumerprotection@utah.gov.

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Spike In Cache County COVID-19 Cases Linked To Meat Processing Plant