KEY POINTS

  • More than 100 employees working at a greenfarm in Central New York have tested postivie for COVID-19
  • Green Empire Farms has 139 of its 300-strong employees falling ill from the virus
  • 2 of those employees have been hospitalized
  • 186 workers were tested Saturday and another 151 tested Tuesday

A fruit and vegetable greenhouse in Madison County in New York is turning into another coronavirus hot spot, with more than 100 of its employees falling ill from the virus.

The Oneida-based Green Empire Farms has at least 139 of its 300-strong employees testing positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. Two of the workers have been hospitalized, said Syracuse.com.

Among the workers whose tests came back positive, 73 live in Madison County and 64 are from Oneida County. Those hailing from Madison County are being housed in The Super 8 in Odeida and the Days Inn in Canastota.

The outlet said in a separate report that 186 of its contract workers were tested Saturday. By Tuesday, another 151 Green Empire Farms workers were tested for COVID-19 with the help of state and local health departments.

Most of the workers are from Spanish and French-speaking countries and were brought to work at the farm by the MAC Contractor. Around 12 interpreters also helped in the testing and contact tracing of the workers' movements.

“We have interpreters for Spanish, and we have interpreters for French, because we have Haitian workers as well,” said Madison County health director Eric Faisst, adding there are also construction workers from the Netherlands.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo compared the sudden increase in COVID-19 patients in Green Empire Farms to the rise of COVID-19 cases in meat-packing plants across the country.

“There's nothing about the fact that it was a meat-processing plant because we have a vegetable processing plant. It is about worker density and large gatherings. That's the caution flag here,” Cuomo said in a briefing Wednesday, reported Democrat and Chronicle.

Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo speaks during a news conference at the Jacob Javits Convention Center during the Coronavirus pandemic on March 30, 2020 in New York City. The Army Corps of Engineers constructed the temporary hospital with nearly 3,000 beds in the convention center to serve patients not seeking medical attention for coronavirus (COVID-19) but for other ailments. (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images) Photo: Noam Galai/Getty Images

The governor said the spread of COVID-19 has nothing to do about meat or vegetables, but it concerns “a large facility with a large number of people in a dense environment” like what happened to New Rochelle.

Cuomo also clarified that a previous press statement from Oneida county that mentioned the greenhouse as a place that's “ripe for bacteria and viruses” and the food supply coming from Green Empire Farms as unsafe is “non-factual.”