The majority of individuals who tested positive for COVID-19 at Tyson's Pasco beef plant did not present any symptoms, according to a statement from Tyson Foods, Inc., and the Walla Walla County Department of Community Health in partnership with Providence St. Mary Medical Center.
There are 1,482 team members and non-Tyson personnel who work at the facility and 277 tested positive. Of the total individuals who tested positive, more than half did not show any symptoms and otherwise would not have been identified. The total comprises 126 people who had tested positive when seeking care through their own health care providers. The additional 151 cases where identified through facility-wide testing.
More than half of the individuals who tested positive are considered recovered at this time.
Limited production has resumed at the plant just south of Pasco following a temporary halt for deep cleaning and sanitizing.
Team members testing positive will receive paid leave and may return to work only when they have met the criteria established by both the CDC and Tyson.
Tyson has increased short-term disability coverage to 90% of normal pay until June 30th  to encourage team members to stay home when they are sick. The company also has doubled its “thank you” bonus for its front line workers. Team members who cannot come to work because of illness or childcare issues related to COVID-19 will continue to qualify.
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Tyson team members now have access to daily clinical symptom screenings, nurse practitioners and enhanced education. plus temperature checks for everyone before every shift and providing mandatory protective face masks to all team members as well as practicing established social distancing measures. There will be physical barriers between works stations and in break-rooms.
The large-scale testing took place at the Pasco facility from April 24th to 25th while the plant was temporarily idled for the deep clean and whole sanitizing process, plus it allowed time for all the tests to be analyzed.
Tyson will disclose verified test results across their company at other plants besides the Pasco operation to local health and government officials, adding to the overall data and hoping to help the affected communities where Tyson operates.
Tom Brower, Senior Vice President of Health and Safety for Tyson Foods said, “Our top priority is the health and safety of our team members, and we appreciate the collaboration and support of Walla Walla County Department of Community Health and Providence St. Mary Medical Center to provide testing and complement our existing prevention efforts.”
Brower continued, "As we learn more abut his virus, we continue to do everything we can to protect our team members and ensure that they can feel safe and secure when they come to work."