Over 80 COVID-19 cases connected to Smithfield Foods, officials say
UPDATE, 1:45 p.m.
State officials say over 80 employees at one Sioux Falls business have tested positive for COVID-19.
South Dakota Health Secretary Kim Malsam-Rysdon said Wednesday that over 80 employees at Smithfield Foods have been diagnosed with the disease.
Maslam-Rysdon said Smithfield is one of the businesses the Department of Health has identified as a "hot spot." She said health officials are working closely with the business to make sure they are following the proper guidelines.
The mayor of Sioux Falls says several Sioux Falls businesses, including Smithfield Foods, are working with the South Dakota Department of Health to slow the spread of COVID-19.
In a briefing Wednesday, Mayor Paul TenHaken said the state Department of Health has identified several COVID-19 "hot spots" in Minnehaha County.
While TenHaken initially refrained from identifying a particular business or organization, when asked about Smithfield Foods, TenHaken confirmed it is one of the businesses the state is working with.
an employee tested positive for COVID-19. Dakota News Now has received reports of additional cases at the meat processing plant. The company has declined to comment on any of these additional cases.
TenHaken said the city has been working closely with Smithfield, and he has personally been emailing the plant manager regarding the situation. He also said Smithfield CEO Kenneth Sullivan has personally visited the plant to make sure proper measures are being taken.
The mayor said Smithfield is not the only company dealing with the coronavirus, saying he has contacted the CEO of another unnamed production company that is dealing with COVID-19. TenHaken said he reached out after his office received questions from employees regarding the company's policies.
Smithfield has posted guidelines
regarding the company's policies regarding COVID-19. Those guidelines state employees who test positive will be quarantined with pay. The company also says it is providing a $500 "Responsibility Bonus" to all its hourly production and distribution team members.
Smithfield Foods, the site of the former John Morrell plant, is one of Sioux Falls' largest employers, with more than 3,500 employees.