CORONAVIRUS

Tama beef plant reopens after testing shows 177 workers with coronavirus

Iowa Premium Beef's meatpacking plant in Tama is shown on Wednesday, March 4, 2015. (The Gazette)
Iowa Premium Beef’s meatpacking plant in Tama is shown on Wednesday, March 4, 2015. (The Gazette)

An Iowa beef processing plant that was idled after a coronavirus outbreak resumed production Monday, one day after the state said 177 workers there have tested positive.

The Iowa Premium plant in Tama, owned by National Beef, had suspended production after the company confirmed that multiple workers had the virus.

On Sunday, the office of Gov. Kim Reynolds said 177 out of more than 500 National Beef workers tested were positive for the coronavirus.

A woman who answered the phone at the plant confirmed that production resumed Monday. A National Beef spokesman said last week that its plan to resume production April 20 hadn’t changed, and hasn’t responded to inquiries since then.

The company closed the plant for what it called a regularly scheduled cleaning two weeks ago. On April 10, National Beef said the closure would continue through April 20 “out of abundance of caution and concern for the health and well-being of our employees.”

The governor’s office also said Sunday another 84 employees of Tyson Foods had tested positive.

Tyson said its Waterloo pork plant remained open Monday, defying calls from local officials to suspend production. Its Columbus Junction plant remained closed, and its Perry plant was idled for a one-day cleaning.

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