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Albany food plant shuts down after 8 workers test positive for COVID-19

Lt. Michelle Duncan of the Linn County Sheriff's Office confirmed 8 positive COVID-19 cases at the National Frozen Foods plant in Albany.

Posted: Apr 23, 2020 11:17 PM
Updated: Apr 25, 2020 12:58 PM

ALBANY, Ore. -- An Albany food plant has stopped operations after 8 employees tested positive for COVID-19, according to a union representative.

Linn County Public Health told KEZI 9 News that 8 employees tested positive plus two of their family members. 

Michael Beranbaum, Secretary-Treasurer for Teamsters Local Union No. 670, said operations have come to a halt for at least three days while the facility is sanitized. Only cleaning crews and a small team in the warehouse remain on duty.

According to Beranbaum, employees are typically asked if they have coronavirus symptoms before entering the building. Employees have also been practicing social distancing, but it may not be enough. 

Beranbaum said the plant's owners, National Frozen Foods, have had difficulty ordering enough masks and thermometers. It was only after two confirmed cases of coronavirus at the plant last week that local agencies stepped up to provide masks to some workers. 

"Some of them I understand were on back order and they continue to attempt to get. We do know immediately after the fact that two people tested positive, they received about 120 masks," Beranbaum said.

Beranbaum later added when employees return to work after the plant reopens, they will all be provided will full personal protectice equipment, and he says employees will receive pay for the time the plant is closed.

Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Administration also confirmed they received complaints regarding the plant and an on-site inspection was opened on Tuesday. The investigation is ongoing and no results have been released.

National Frozen Foods processes beans, corn, squash, and other vegetables, according to its website.

The Linn County Sheriff's Office is currently working with health officials to release more information. 

KEZI 9 News reached out to the company about these cases but the human resources department declined to comment. 

Stay with KEZI 9 News for updates.

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