VERNON (CBSLA) — A coronavirus outbreak hit a meat processing plant near downtown Los Angeles.
More than 100 employees at Farmer John, which produces the Dodger Dog, have tested positive for coronavirus, officials said.
A protest was held outside the facility on May 21 in response to an executive order by President Donald Trump to keep meatpacking plants open during the pandemic.
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health said 153 of the 1,837 workers at the Smithfield-owned facility have contracted the coronavirus.
“Our Smithfield Family members are crucial to our nation’s response to COVID-19,” Smithfield Foods said in a statement. “We thank them for keeping food on America’s tables, and have implemented aggressive measures to protect their health and safety during this pandemic.”
Smithfield says it has implemented several guidelines in compliance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Some of these protocols include boosting its supply of masks and face shields, installing plastic sheeting to help minimize face-to-face contact, identifying employees who may have fevers and offering free coronavirus testing to employees.
The company said it has also relaxed attendance policies and stressed the importance of personal hygiene to workers as well as enhanced cleaning and sanitation, among other changes.
Other non-residential places to be hit with coronavirus outbreaks on a smaller scale, according to county health officials, include California Farms Meat Company, Ralphs Hollywood, Ralphs Ice Plant and Warehouse, and Fresh and Ready Foods.