Tyson is Committed to Disclosing its Test Results to Help Keep Team Members and the Community Safe. Majority of Individuals Who Tested Positive Did Not Show Symptoms.
SPRINGDALE, Ark. – May 15, 2020 – Tyson Foods, Inc. (NYSE: TSN) and Walla Walla County Department of Community Health (DCH) in partnership with Providence St. Mary Medical Center today announced the results of facility-wide testing for COVID-19 at Tyson’s Pasco, Washington beef plant, where limited production has resumed following a temporary halt for deep cleaning and sanitization.
Of the 1,482 team members and non-Tyson personnel who work at the facility, 277 tested positive. Of the total individuals who tested positive, more than half did not show any symptoms and otherwise would not have been identified.
The total comprises 126 people who had tested positive when seeking care through their own health care providers. The additional 151 cases were identified through facility-wide testing. Team members who test positive receive paid leave and may return to work only when they have met the criteria established by both the CDC and Tyson.
“Our top priority is the health and safety of our team members, and we appreciate the collaboration and support of Walla Walla County Department of Community Health and Providence St. Mary Medical Center to provide testing and complement our existing prevention efforts,” said Tom Brower, Senior Vice President of Health and Safety for Tyson Foods. “As we learn more about this virus, we continue to do everything we can to protect our team members and ensure they feel safe and secure when they come to work. We’re proud of our Tyson team members and are supporting them with the most up-to-date information and resources to take care of their health.”
“Walla Walla County is proud to collaborate with Tyson Foods and Providence St. Mary Medical Center to manage this virus in our community. 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 Meghan DeBolt, Department of Community Health Director, DCH.
As it is doing in Walla Walla County at the Pasco facility, Tyson will disclose verified test results at other plants to health and government officials, team members and stakeholders as they become available as part of its efforts to help affected communities where it operates better understand the coronavirus and the protective measures that can be taken to help prevent its spread.
Large-scale testing at the Pasco facility took place from April 24 to April 25 while the plant was temporarily idled for deep cleaning and sanitization and to allow time for the tests to be analyzed and the results to be processed and communicated to affected team members. More than half of the individuals who tested positive are considered to be recovered at this time.
Through its partnership with Matrix Medical, a leading provider of mobile health clinics, team members have access to daily clinical symptom screenings, nurse practitioners and enhanced education.
Tyson has also put in place a host of protective steps that meet or exceed CDC and OSHA guidance for preventing COVID-19. These include temperature checks for all team members before every shift, providing mandatory protective face masks to all team members, as well as a range of social distancing measures including physical barriers between workstations and in break rooms.
“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 Pasco facility. “Disclosing our testing results will help better protect our team members and help provide the wider Pasco community with the information it needs to stop the spread of the virus.”
Tyson has increased short-term disability coverage to 90% of normal pay until June 30 to encourage team members to stay home when they are sick. The company also has doubled its “thank you” bonus for its frontline workers. Team members who cannot come to work because of illness or childcare issues related to COVID-19 will continue to qualify.
About Tyson Foods
Tyson Foods, Inc. is one of the world’s largest food companies and a recognized leader in protein. Founded in 1935 by John W. Tyson and grown under three generations of family leadership, the company has a broad portfolio of products and brands like Tyson®, Jimmy Dean®, Hillshire Farm®, Ball Park®, Wright®, Aidells®, ibp® and State Fair®. Tyson Foods innovates continually to make protein more sustainable, tailor food for everywhere it’s available and raise the world’s expectations for how much good food can do. Headquartered in Springdale, Arkansas, the company has 141,000 team members. Through its Core Values, Tyson Foods strives to operate with integrity, create value for its shareholders, customers, communities and team members and serve as a steward of the animals, land and environment entrusted to it. Visit TYSONFOODS.COM.
About Walla Walla County Department of Community Health (DCH)
Walla Walla County Department of Community Health (DCH) strives to improve the quality of life and wellbeing of the communities within Walla Walla County through prevention, promotion and protection. The DCH serves approximately 60,000 residents with Behavioral Health, Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs, Clinical and Preventative Services, Environmental Health, Food Safety, Homeless Housing, Maternal and Child Health, and Vital Records. Using their values of integrity, collaboration, respect, science, and accountability DCH is always working for a safer, healthier and thriving Walla Walla County.
Hli Yang, 479-290-2122