ARNOLD, Pa. (KDKA) – Six more employees of the Smithfield Foods Plant in Arnold have tested positive for COVID-19.
According to the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1776, 12 employees at the plant have tested positive for coronavirus. Eight of them have already recovered and are back at work.READ MORE: Gov. Wolf Says Rite Aid Pharmacies In State Will Receive Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine For School Employees And Students
However, these kinds of plants are considered hot spots for the virus.
It’s not easy to be socially distant while working in a processing plant. Some may even consider it to be impossible — many are shoulder to shoulder.
And that is one way to accelerate the number of positive COVID-19 cases.
In fact, just this week, the Centers for Disease Control reports there are 858 confirmed cases among meat plant workers in Pennsylvania. That’s more than any other state.
In the food industry as a whole, Dr. Rachel Levine said Tuesday approximately 2,032 COVID-19 cases are in workers within the food industry at 120 locations.
In a statement, Smithfield Foods said: “At the core of the company’s COVID-19 response is an ongoing focus on employee health and safety and continued adherence with – at a minimum – the CDC and OSHA guidance. Across all its facilities, the company is providing its team members with PPE, including masks and at least temporary face shields.”READ MORE: 'Moderna Arm': Some People Develop Reaction To Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine
On Smithfield’s site, they list more of the steps they’re taking to protect employees.
They say all employees are screened and their temperatures checked. There are now dividers between workers, and everyone working the production line must wear PPE.
So how is all of this impacting the consumer?
Some may have noticed signs posted in the meat and poultry aisle of grocery stores limiting customers just how much they can purchase.
Shoppers KDKA talked to say, so far, it hasn’t impacted them too much.
“I’m not really seeing it yet. I hope it all works out,” said one shopper.MORE NEWS: High School Spring Sports Kick Off After Being Canceled Last Year During Pandemic's Start
And experts say that will take sometime as we navigate through this new normal and many companies like Smithfield adjust and make changes.