Kentucky Meat Processing Plants Confronting COVID-19

May 12, 2020

Perdue Farms has a chicken processing plant in Ohio County, Kentucky.
Credit facebook/Perdue Farms

Public health officials in Kentucky are working with meat processing plants aross the state to minimize the spread of COVID-19.

The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services reports the number of COVID-19 cases at Perdue Farms in Ohio County jumped from 186 to 281 last week.

Kentucky Commissioner for Public Health Dr. Steven Stack said the increase is the result of expanded testing of Perdue workers. 

“I’m very grateful for the open communication I’ve had with the leadership at Perdue. They did, just a few days ago, test the entire workforce and they had a positivity rate of about 7.8 percent or so, which is not as bad as we thought it could be," Dr. Stack said during a May 9 press conference with Gov. Andy Beshear.

"They’ve taken a lot of steps there to reduce the risk in the plant. And I’m very grateful for the actions they’ve taken,” Dr. Stack said.

Perdue had one employee death related to COVID-19.

The other virus-related death of worker at a Kentucky meat processing facility was at JBS USA in Jefferson County, where 67 employees had confirmed cases of the virus.

Other confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been at the Tyson Foods Green River plant in Henderson County, which has 95 cases, and at Tyson Foods Lincoln County facility, with two employees testing positive.

In Daviess County, Specialty Food Group has reported 35 employees testing positive for the virus.