DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Coronavirus tests have revealed that 224 employees of a Tyson beef and pork processing plant in Council Bluffs have tested positive for the virus, company officials said Tuesday.
The company said 103 workers stayed home the required quarantine time and have returned to work. The company has 1,483 employees at the plant.
“More than half of individuals who tested positive did not show any symptoms and otherwise would not have been identified,” the company said in a statement. Some were tested by the state and some through their own health care providers. The company tested 145 workers at the plant on May 14-16.
Tyson is testing workers in more than 40 production facilities in the United States, prioritizing communities with higher prevalence of COVID-19, the illness caused by coronavirus infection, the company said.
The company also reported testing at its pork processing plant in Storm Lake indicated 591 positive cases out of 2,303 workers. More than 75 percent did not show symptoms and otherwise would not have been identified, the company said.
Iowa surpassed 20,000 positive cases Tuesday with more than 320 new cases and 21 additional deaths as of Tuesday afternoon for a total of 561.
Iowa Department of Public Health Deputy Director Sarah Reisetter said the state is working on a more systematic method of identifying outbreaks and announcing them. Currently 10% of a plant's employees must test positive for it to be considered by the state an outbreak but companies have not been compelled to report it. State officials have only confirmed some outbreaks at plants when asked by reporters.