Tyson, health officials release Wallula COVID-19 test results

Tyson Fresh Meats, Wallula

Tyson Foods, Inc. on Friday released the results of its Wallula workers’ COVID-19 test results following an outbreak that likely started in March.

The facility-wide testing shows 277 of 1,482 workers there tested positive for coronavirus. More than half of the 277 employees did not show symptoms.

The tests were conducted April 24-25 at the beef-processing plant during a temporary halt for deep cleaning and sanitizing. The plant is now back open.

The latest information showed the plant-wide testing uncovered 151 cases; the other 126 people who tested positive found out through their own health care providers.

More than half of the 277 workers are considered to be recovered; they can go back to work after meeting criteria established by the CDC and Tyson, the company said.

Tyson made the announcements late Friday afternoon in a joint press release with Walla Walla County and in partnership with Providence St. Mary Medical Center.

“All individuals with COVID-19 in the county, as well as their close contacts, are instructed to isolate or quarantine at home until they are released by their healthcare provider or public health,” said Walla Walla County Department of Community Health Director Meghan DeBolt.

“Our team members are essential to helping feed the nation, and their health and safety is always our first priority,” said Brad Anderson, manager at the Wallula plant

Tyson says it is performing temperature checks before every shift and providing face masks. The company has added barriers between workstations and in break rooms.