California chicken plant is forced to shut down after EIGHT employees die from COVID-19 and at least 350 more test positive for the virus
- On Thursday, the Merced County Health Department gave the Foster Farms plant in Northern California 48 hours to shut its doors
- The shutdown will remain ‘until acceptable safety measures are in place’
- At least 358 of the plant’s 3,750 employees have tested positive to COVID-19
- Meat processing plants across the country have become coronavirus hot spots; several facilities have been forced to temporarily close after employee deaths
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A California chicken plant has been ordered to shut down after eight employees died from COVID-10 and another 350 tested positive for the virus.
Foster Farms, located in Livingston, southwest of San Francisco, has 48 hours to close its doors, following an order from the Merced County Health Department issued on Thursday.
‘In view of increasing deaths and uncontrolled COVID-19 cases, the decision was made to order Foster Farms Livingston Complex closed until acceptable safety measures are in place,’ Merced County health officer, Dr. Salvador Sandoval, stated.
Around 3,750 people work at the Livingston plant, meaning that close to 10 percent of all employees are infected.
Despite Thursday’s order, Foster Farms told its Livingston employees to show up for shifts on Friday, according to an email obtained by The Los Angeles Times.
The Fresno Bee reports that trucks ‘with Foster Farms’ logos, were seen entering and exiting the Livingston facility’ after the shutdown order was issued, but before the 48-hour grace period lapsed.
Foster Farms, located in Livingston, southwest of San Francisco, has 48 hours to close its doors, following an order from the Merced County Health Department issued on Thursday
Some were left angered by the decision to have employees continue to show up at the sprawling plant. A majority of its employees are reportedly Latino and Punjabi Sikh.
‘I’m highly disappointed that Foster Farms would continue with tonight’s shift. That puts workers at danger and at risk of infection despite the expert medical opinions provided by county public health and other professionals,’ one community member stated.
A COVID-19 outbreak at the plant was first reported two months ago. The virus spread quickly among staff, despite Foster Farms saying they put safety protocols in place.
Officials from the Merced County Health Department subsequently advised Foster Farms to ‘conduct widespread testing among its employees’.
However, at the time of the shutdown order, not all workers had been tested for the virus, meaning more than 350 could be infected.
Around 3,750 people work at the Livingston plant, meaning that close to 10 percent of all employees are infected
Foster Farms is one of the leading poultry companies in the US.
The multi-bullion brand also has chicken factories in Oregon, Washington, Louisiana, and Alabama. They further have a turkey processing plant in Turlock, California.
In a written statement, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said he supports the shutdown order.
‘Foster Farms’ poultry operation in Livingston, California, has experienced an alarming spread of COVID-19 among its workers. Nobody can ignore the facts: It’s time to hit the reset button on Foster Farms’ Livingston plant,’ he stated.
Meat processing plants have become COVID-19 hot spots since the virus began spreading through the country back in March. Infections and deaths of workers caused the temporary closure of other plants.
Meanwhile, California as a whole is struggling to contain the cornavirus outbreak.
The state has reported more than 695,000 cases of the virus, and more than 12,000 deaths.
Despite Thursday’s order, Foster Farms told its Livingston employees to show up for shifts on Friday, according to an email obtained by The Los Angeles Times. A stock image from outside the facility is seen above
Foster Farms is one of the leading poultry companies in the US. They posted this message to their Instagram page amid the coronavirus pandemic