CORONAVIRUS

25 workers test positive for coronavirus at Eagle Grove pork plant

None of them showed symptoms of disease, health official says

This illustration provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in January 2020 shows the 2019 Novel Corona
This illustration provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in January 2020 shows the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV). This virus was identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China. (CDC via AP)

EAGLE GROVE — Twenty-five employees of the Prestage pork processing plant in Eagle Grove have tested positive for COVID-19, according to Wright County Public Health.

Officials started testing employees in the plant in north-central Iowa over the weekend, with 867 tests administered, officials said.

The Wright County Board of Supervisors on April 16 requested testing at the plant, noting that Prestage is a regional employer with 62 employees commuting from hard-hit Black Hawk County, which has reported 420 confirmed cases of the virus and four deaths.

Of the plant’s 25 employees who tested positive, 18 live in Black Hawk County, 90 miles to the east of Eagle Grove, Wright County Epidemiologist Sandy McGrath said Thursday.

Also, McGrath said, none of the employees with positive tests had COVID-19 symptoms — “all were asymptomatic.”

Because of that, “it is imperative to keep up good practices of social distancing, hand-washing, wearing face coverings” and following guidelines from the Iowa Department of Public Health, McGrath said.

The 25 positive tests are “still not an outbreak,” McGrath said, but rather the result of “surveillance of potential COVID-19 activities in our area.”

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Three of the workers with positive tests live in Hamilton County, two in Humboldt County and one each in Wright and Webster counties, officials said.

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