Tyson Foods in Columbus Junction suspending operations due to COVID-19 outbreak

COLUMBUS JUNCTION — More than two dozen cases of COVID-19 have been reported at Tyson Foods, Inc. in Columbus Junction, prompting the company to suspend operations for two weeks, according to a statement.

“In an effort to minimize the impact on our overall production, we’re diverting the livestock supply originally scheduled for delivery to Columbus Junction to some of our other pork plants in the region,” the release states.

CEO Noel White, in the news release, said the company is continuing to operate other facilities and has adopted several safety practices as well. All employees must have their temperature taken before entering and cleaning and sanitizing of facilities has been “stepped up.”

“We’re also coordinating with federal agencies to emphasize the need for personal protective equipment to

support our team members as we remain open. We’re working to secure an adequate supply of protective face coverings for production workers and have implemented interim protocols for temporary protective coverings, while observing food safety,” he said in a statement.

The open plants are continuing to practice social distancing, according to the statement. Outdoor tents have been opened at some locations to allow for employees to take breaks while still maintaining a six-foot distance.

“Our meat and poultry plants are experiencing varying levels of production impact, due to the planned implementation of additional worker safety precautions and worker absenteeism. While these are challenging times, we remain committed to protecting our people while continuing to meet the needs of our customers and consumers across America,” the release states.