50+ coronavirus cases linked to large NC Smithfield Foods plant

North Carolina news

TAR HEEL, N.C. (WECT) – For several days, employees at Smithfield Foods in Tar Heel have reached out to local media to warn there are many reports of coronavirus involving employees at the facility.

The company refuses to acknowledge any positive cases of COVID-19, citing Smithfield employees’ legal privacy. But now we’re getting a sense of the outbreak at the facility from local health departments.

RELATED: Full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak in NC

Robeson County Health Department spokesperson Emily Jones confirms 46 of its residents who have tested positive for COVID-19 work at the Smithfield Foods plant. The Columbus County Health Department confirmed seven of its positive cases in that county involved Smithfield workers.

This news is on top of at least one case involving a citizen of Bladen County, where the Smithfield Foods plant operates. The health department in Bladen County confirmed positive reports of coronavirus about two weeks ago.

The plant in Tar Heel is the world’s largest pork processing plant.

The plant continues to operate during this time. Smithfield Foods shut down its pork processing plant in Sioux Falls, South Dakota after an outbreak involving hundreds of employees recently.

Copyright 2020 WECT. All rights reserved.

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