Iowa Governor: Pork processing plants must remain open

DES MOINES, Iowa- State health officials say 67-percent of the large number of positive COVID-19 tests, announced over the weekend, were connected in some way to pork processing plants. Outbreaks have been reported at plants in Columbus, Junction, Perry, Tama, and Waterloo.

Health officials say testing, and contact tracing will continue, to determine the scope of the virus activity. Food processing companies in Iowa are also taking steps to curb the spread of the virus among its workforce.

Governor Kim Reynolds today (Monday) spoke about the importance of these plants, which provide one-third of the nation's pork supply.

"If we aren't able to move them through the process, at some point we'll have to talk about euthanizing hogs, and we're not that far from it and it would be devastating, not only for the food supply, but for the cost of food," said Governor Reynolds.

Governor Reynolds says 31 of the 100 largest food manufacturers and processors are located in Iowa.

The Iowa Department of Public Health is working with food processors as well as long term care facilities which have also had outbreaks. Businesses are told to report employee absenteeism of 10-percent or more to the Iowa Department of Public Health.

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