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The original item was published from 5/14/2020 5:07:33 PM to 5/23/2020 12:00:02 AM.

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Posted on: May 14, 2020

[ARCHIVED] Tyson Foods to limit operations at Wilkesboro facility; towns strongly recommend staying at home

[Wilkesboro, NC, May 14, 2020] Tyson Food announced today that it “has made the voluntary decision to temporarily limit operations at our Wilkesboro, N.C. poultry processing facility…to carry out additional deep cleaning due to a combination of positive COVID-19 cases and team member absences related to the quarantine and other factors.”  

This closure follows coronavirus testing of all Tyson employees and contractors last week. Tyson will share verified test results with health and government officials as they become available, allowing health officials to perform contact tracing on infected individuals. An initial round of testing performed by Wilkes Health on May 4, 2020 revealed that 19% of subject employees tested positive for the virus.

The towns of Wilkesboro, North Wilkesboro, and Ronda acknowledge the steps Tyson has taken to minimize the risk of transmission within its facilities, and protect the health of its employees.

Some of the newly diagnosed cases were found in asymptomatic individuals, meaning they have potentially carried the virus into the community where it can spread via community transmission.

Because of this risk, the three towns would like to remind residents that all of Wilkes County remains under a modified stay-at-home order as outlined in Governor Cooper’s Executive Order 138. Violations of this order are punishable as a Class 2 misdemeanor.

Permitted activities notwithstanding, the three towns strongly encourage residents stay at home to the fullest extent possible. No resident should participate in any public activity that is not essential to life, health, or safety. If residents must go out in public, the local governments insist that they follow the three Ws: Wear a mask, Wait 6 feet apart, Wash hands frequently.

As they are entitled to do per the language of the Executive Order, the Wilkes municipalities may consider additional public safety measures in response to this news and the area’s recent spike in cases. Local trends DO NOT meet Governor Cooper’s or the White House’s guidelines for reopening.

Since an individual can carry the virus unknowingly and spread it via community transmission, going out in public does more than put the individual at risk. Going out in public risks exposing others to the virus, and they in turn can expose others. One transmission can spread exponentially throughout the community.

Therefore, the county and towns plead with all Wilkes County residents to keep the health of their neighbors in mind, act in good faith, and stay at home as much as possible.

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