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Tyson Foods implements COVID-19 monitoring program, expands health staff to combat virus

Published: Jul. 30, 2020 at 6:42 AM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Tyson Foods is launching a new COVID-19 monitoring program and adding a chief medical officer position and nearly 200 nurses to its health staff to combat the spread of the virus.

This comes after several Tyson plants in Iowa have had to suspend or limit operations due to outbreaks of the virus.

Tyson Foods said it worked with medical experts from Matrix Medical to design the monitoring strategy.

It includes regular testing of workers whether they have symptoms or not, as well as testing of any employee who has been in contact with someone who has the virus. Workers may be selected for testing using an algorithm-based selection process. Anyone with symptoms will be tested according to CDC guidelines. Those who have come into close contact with someone who is symptomatic will also be tested.

The nearly 200 additional nurses the company is adding will conduct the regular on-site testing and will coordinate treatment for workers who test positive for COVID-19.

“We believe launching a new, strategic approach to monitoring and adding the health staff to support it will help further our efforts to go on the offensive against the virus,” said Donnie King, Tyson Foods group president and chief administrative officer. “Adding more resources and technologies reinforces our commitment to protecting our team members, their families and plant communities.”

Tyson Foods said currently less than one percent of its U.S. workforce of 120,000 has COVID-19.

“What we’re adopting is a strategic, ongoing approach to combating COVID-19,” said King. “It involves weekly testing of team members at our facilities to monitor for the presence of the virus. By using data science to test a statistically sound sample of team members, we have a better chance of staying ahead of any potential virus spread and protecting our teams and communities.”

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