PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Oregon workplace safety regulators have cited an Oregon food processor for unsafe practices after nearly three dozen of its employees tested positive for the coronavirus.
The $2,000 penalty against National Frozen Foods in Albany appears to be the first since Gov. Kate Brown ordered businesses to ensure distancing between workers, the Democrat-Herald reported. The food manufacturer had employees standing as close as 2 feet apart, rather than 6 feet, as ordered by Brown.
National Frozen Foods has 30 days to appeal the citation.
The citation from Oregon OSHA stems from an inspection starting April 20 in response to complaints about the facility.
National Frozen Foods employs more than 300 people at its Albany plant, which opened in 1982. The plant puts out millions of pounds of frozen produce including beans, corn and squash, each year.
Additionally, several workers at Pacific Seafood’s plant in Warrenton, Oregon, have tested positive for the coronavirus, the second seafood processor on the northern Oregon coast with an outbreak, the Astorian reported. A spokesman for Clatsop County described six cases involving workers at Pacific Seafood and one case involving one of the worker’s contacts.
In a statement Saturday, Pacific Seafood said it suspended operations at the Warrenton plant after a worker tested positive. John King, the general manager of the seafood processor, said the facility has since been professionally cleaned. He said the company will test workers for the virus before reopening.
Over two dozen workers have tested positive at Bornstein Seafoods in Astoria, Oregon.
More than 3,350 people in Oregon have tested positive for the coronavirus and at least 130 people have died. The Oregon Health Authority reported no new deaths on Tuesday.
The virus causes mild to moderate symptoms in most patients, and the vast majority recover. But it is highly contagious and can cause severe illness and death in some patients, particularly the elderly and those with underlying health conditions.