KEY POINTS

  • Over a dozen workers at an Oregon seafood processing plant have tested positive for COVID-19 
  • The infected workers have forced two of the affected facilities to close
  • All employees have been advised to self-isolate following testing

At least 13 workers at an Oregon seafood processing plant have contracted COVID-19, resulting in the temporary closures of two Bornstein Seafood facilities. 

"At this time our two Astoria seafood plants have been shut down, and we are working hand in hand with county health officials to increase testing and implement contact tracing," Bornstein told local news station KGW8. "We are advising all of our employees to self-isolate and quarantine as advised by Public Health until further notice and guidance."

The company first notified the county health department May 1 it had tested an employee for COVID-19 and received a positive result. 

Around 35 employees were tested for the novel coronavirus on Saturday after they began to show several telltale symptoms of the disease. The news went out in a company-wide release. Two weeks prior, Clatsop County health officials headed out to the processing plant in an effort to show employees how they could still be effective at their jobs while practicing social distancing in the best possible manner. The entirety of the Bornstein Seafood workforce will also receive tests for coronavirus.

The news comes after over 100 workers at a meatpacking plant in Oklahoma tested positive for the novel coronavirus, contributing to  a worrisome shortage of beef in the United States for the foreseeable future. At least 116 employees out of 2,700 people had tested positive at the Seaboard Foods plant.

"Our message to employees continues to be if you don't feel well please stay home, contact your health care provider, and get tested. We believe this is the best way to protect our workers and our community,"  owner David Eaheart said in a statement to Fox News.

As is likely the case with Bornstein Seafood, employees at the Seaboard Foods plant have indicated current conditions at the location are "not conducive" for social distancing, with employees who were sick going to work for fear of losing their jobs. 

For those who have claimed the location is not conducive to social distancing behaviors, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has suggested enhanced disinfection and regular virus screening as well as additional space from coworkers. 

A man in the US died after taking a form of choloroquine used to clean fish tanks in the mistaken belief it would protect against the coronavirus A man in the US died after taking a form of choloroquine used to clean fish tanks in the mistaken belief it would protect against the coronavirus Photo: AFP / FETHI BELAID