100 coronavirus cases reported at Washington beef plant

WALLULA, Wash. — All employees of a Tyson Fresh Meats beef plant near the Tri-Cities will eventually be tested for COVID-19 and then sent home to self-isolate until test results come back.

“This may require the plant to close for a day or two, depending on when the testing can take place and how long it takes to get results back,” said Meghan DeBolt, director of the Walla Walla County Department of Community Health.

The Tri-City Herald reported the decision to test all employees was announced on Tuesday as the number of known confirmed and probable cases associated with the plant reached 100. Workers at the plant live in Washington state and Oregon.

The case total includes 91 residents of Benton and Franklin counties, eight in Walla Walla County and one in Umatilla County, Oregon.

The Walla Walla County health department plans to start testing within the next week.

The plant employs more than 1,400 workers to slaughter and pack beef in Wallula, just south of Pasco.

Some people are calling for county officials to shut the plant down for two weeks as some other meat processing centers across the nation have done.

More than 3,000 people have signed a petition at change.org calling for the plant to close for 14 days to protect workers and stop the spread of the new coronavirus within the plant.

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