Coronavirus outbreak closes southern Indiana poultry plant

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About 100 workers at a southern Indiana poultry processing plant have tested positive for the coronavirus in an outbreak that has it closed until at least Wednesday.

Posted: May 19, 2020 9:03 AM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — About 100 workers at a southern Indiana poultry processing plant have tested positive for the coronavirus in an outbreak that has it closed until at least Wednesday.

Fourteen more Indiana residents have died from coronavirus illnesses, pushing the state’s death toll from confirmed or presumed cases of COVID-19 closer to 1,800, state health officials said Monday.

POULTRY PLANT OUTBREAK

Farbest Foods had the nearly 600 workers at its Huntingburg plant tested on Friday and the company was working Monday and Tuesday to notify healthy employees on when to return, said Ted Seger, president of the Jasper-based company.

Farbest’s Huntingburg plant is at least the fourth Indiana meat or poultry processing plant that has faced outbreaks of COVID-19 among its workforce similar to others in the industry across the country.

The worst such outbreak in Indiana has been at a Tyson pork-processing plant in Logansport, which was closed for nearly two weeks and tests confirmed COVID-19 infections among nearly 900 of the plant’s 2,200 employees, the company said. Smaller outbreaks happened at Indiana Packers Corp. in Delphi and Miller Poultry in Orland.

Seger said in a statement that tests confirmed 101 of the Farbest workers as infected with COVID-19 but without symptoms, while 23 tests were pending verification.

The Farbest cases have fueled 91 new confirmed coronavirus infections since Friday that have more than doubled the total number of cases to 161 in DuBois County, where the plant is located, according to Monday’s state health department update.

State health crews have been monitoring cleaning work at the plant ahead of its reopening, said Dr. Kristina Box, the state health commissioner.

Gov. Eric Holcomb said company and local officials have been “working hand in glove with us to make sure we are able to contain that spread.”

VIRUS CASES

All but one of the state's 14 new confirmed COVID-19 deaths occurred on Saturday and Sunday, and they boosted Indiana's confirmed toll to 1,621, the Indiana State Department of Health said. The state agency’s statistics show that another 144 Hoosiers have died from probable infections of COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the virus, raising Indiana's confirmed or presumed deaths to 1,765.

The state’s weekly update of pandemic deaths at the state’s nursing homes, released each Monday, shows that deaths at those homes increased by 148 to 732 in a week. That number now accounts for more than 41% of Indiana’s toll from both confirmed and presumed COVID-19 deaths.

Holcomb and other state officials have refused repeatedly to identify nursing homes where deaths have occurred despite complaints from relatives of home residents about a lack of communication about illnesses and deaths. State officials maintain those facilities face federal and state requirements to notify the families about their COVID-19 status.

For most people, the virus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough, that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death.

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Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 118322

Reported Deaths: 3591
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion21502767
Lake10688323
Elkhart6707111
St. Joseph6619113
Allen6330205
Hamilton4938109
Vanderburgh378131
Hendricks2766124
Monroe265536
Tippecanoe256613
Johnson2352124
Clark225957
Porter219947
Delaware200162
Cass19559
Vigo186827
Madison170375
LaPorte149141
Floyd139664
Warrick138242
Howard132663
Kosciusko125917
Bartholomew118457
Marshall101524
Dubois99919
Boone99146
Grant95134
Hancock94643
Noble93132
Henry81226
Jackson7739
Wayne77014
Morgan73438
Daviess68028
Shelby68029
Dearborn67528
LaGrange64011
Clinton62314
Harrison59224
Putnam58411
Gibson5355
Knox5289
Lawrence51629
Montgomery51121
DeKalb48811
White48714
Decatur45939
Miami4394
Greene42735
Fayette42313
Jasper4012
Scott39011
Steuben3907
Posey3460
Sullivan33812
Jennings31612
Franklin31325
Clay3085
Ripley3078
Orange28824
Whitley2826
Carroll27813
Adams2763
Wabash2728
Starke2717
Washington2701
Wells2674
Spencer2633
Jefferson2503
Huntington2473
Fulton2442
Tipton22822
Randolph2238
Perry22113
Jay1920
Newton17411
Owen1711
Martin1680
Pike1641
Rush1574
Vermillion1310
Fountain1292
Blackford1213
Pulaski1141
Crawford1100
Parke1072
Brown1043
Benton870
Ohio797
Union790
Switzerland690
Warren411
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COVID-19 Important links and resources

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