Perdue Farms worker has coronavirus

Coronavirus putting pressure on farming industry’s labor force

American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall discusses how the farming industry is under pressure during the coronavirus outbreak.

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Perdue Farms said Saturday that an employee at a processing facility in Georgia has tested positive for the coronavirus.

"Perdue Farms learned today that an Associate at our Perry, Georgia Further Processing facility, who has not been to work for more than a week, has tested positive for COVID-19," the major poultry processing company said in a press release. "The affected Associate is in quarantine for 14 days while still receiving pay and no attendance penalty, and may return to work when approved to do so by a healthcare provider."

(Photo by John Greim/LightRocket via Getty Images)

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Upon learning the employee tested positive, the company said it immediately notified and coordinated with local health officials, the on-site USDA inspector, Perdue HR and wellness staff, Perdue's coronavirus response leader and the facility's director of operations to take steps to protect its other employees.

The company says it has interviewed the worker and checked recordings of internal cameras to find out whom they may have been in contact with and notified employees who may have been exposed. Perdue has also increased sanitation and cleaning "above and beyond the full sanitization that all facilities receive every 24 hours" and extended the hours of Perdue Farm facilities' on-site wellness centers.

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Additionally, Perdue is implementing temperature checking across all of its facilities and reminding employees to to follow the CDC guidelines for proper hygiene.

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"Our greatest concern is for the health and safety of our Associates," said Perdue Farms Chairman Jim Perdue. "We are committed to supporting them as they remain dedicated to their roles as essential personnel during this uncharted time."

The news comes after nearly 50 Perdue employees walked out last week over coronavirus concerns. According to the CDC, the coronavirus is not known to be a "food-borne pathogen."

Perdue Farms' sales for the 2019 fiscal year were $7.3 billion, according to Forbes.

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