Tyson Foods in Sherman announced Thursday that 326 of the 1,604 team members tested for COVID-19 at their Sherman facility tested positive for the virus.
A statement from the company said that total includes 211 individuals who were tested by the Texas Division of Emergency Management with the National Guard onsite May 13 and 14. The additional 115 were tested when seeking care through their own health care providers.
Team members who test positive receive paid leave and may return to work only when they have met the criteria established by both the CDC and Tyson.
“We’re committed to making sure our team members are safe, healthy and protected and we value the collaboration provided by the Texas Division of Emergency Management to complement our existing prevention efforts,” said Tom Brower, senior vice president of Health and Safety for Tyson Foods. “Our team members deserve to feel safe and secure when they come to work, and we are supporting them with the most up-to-date information and resources to take care of their health.”
As it is doing at the Sherman facility, Tyson will disclose verified test results at other plants where it is conducting facility-wide testing to health and government officials, team members and stakeholders as part of its efforts to help affected communities where it operates better understand the coronavirus and the protective measures that can be taken to help prevent its spread.
“Tyson Foods plays a vital role in the nation’s food supply and in the Texas economy. We are grateful for the additional testing resources from the state and the cooperation from Tyson and its team members, which gives us the information we need to help slow the transmission of this illness in our community,” said Grayson County Emergency Management Coordinator Sarah Somers in the statement provided by Tyson.
Grayson County Judge Bill Magers said Tyson has been very forthcoming with the county about the situation at the plant.
In a phone call Thursday, Magers said a lot of the numbers being reported by Tyson have already been reported as part of the positive COVID-19 cases in the county and contributed to the large spike in the positive cases in the county in the last week.
Team members at Tyson’s Sherman facility have access to daily clinical screenings, nurse practitioners and enhanced education.
The release from Tyson said the company has also put in place a host of protective steps that meet or exceed CDC and OSHA guidance for preventing COVID-19.
These include symptom screenings for all team members before every shift, providing mandatory protective face masks to all team members, as well as a range of social distancing measures including physical barriers between workstations and in break rooms.
“We are proud of our team members and we continue to take protective measures to ensure that their health and safety is our first priority,” said Bill McKeeman, General Manager at the Sherman facility. “Disclosing our testing results is an important step in protecting our team members and helping provide the wider Sherman community with the information it needs to control the spread of the virus.”
Tyson has increased short-term disability coverage to 90% of normal pay until June 30 to encourage team members to stay home when they are sick. The company also has doubled its “thank you” bonus for its frontline workers. Team members who cannot come to work because of illness or childcare issues related to COVID-19 will continue to qualify.
For more coroanvirus related information, visit http://www.Herald Democrat.com/coronavirus.