Iowa and Nebraska are moving in different directions when it comes to identifying how many employees at meat processing plants have tested positive for COVID-19.
Tuesday the State of Iowa confirmed numbers regarding COVID-19 outbreaks at several of Iowa’s meat packing facilities.
That included 731 cases, 58% of those tested at the Tyson Meats plant in Perry and 444 cases, 17% of those tested at the Tyson plant in Waterloo.
Sioux City’s Seaboard Triumph Pork Processing plant voluntarily released to media that 34 employees have tested positive.
Tyson’s Dakota City plant in Nebraska has continued to decline to release numbers though, and Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts said Tuesday that he will not require any of those numbers to be released:
OC…….specific company by company basis. :13
Madison County had been releasing those numbers regarding the Tyson plant to media, but County Health Director Gina Uhing tells KSCJ News that because of the governor’s statement, she will no longer be releasing specific numbers from Madison County.
State Auditor Rob Sand of Iowa has argued that federal medical privacy laws like HIPPA do not prevent the disclosure of the number of individuals in a long-term care facility or a packing plant who have COVID-19, nor the identity of the business in question.
Sand says quote ” We should never see a corporation or a public official claiming that HIPAA justifies withholding the big picture from the public.”
Seaboard Triumph Foods says 34 employees at their Sioux City pork processing plant have confirmed positive for COVID-19.
Two of those employees have since recovered and were released by their doctor and cleared by Human Resources to come back to work.
The company says employees confirmed with COVID-19 are provided paid leave and health benefits including two weeks of normal wages.
In addition, employees considered high risk are encouraged to apply for a leave of absence May 4th, 2020 through May 31st, 2020 through a short-term Special Pandemic Peak Pay program.
Employees who are being tested are not allowed to return to work until they have been cleared by Human Resources.