At least 138 employees at a meat packing plant in Central California have tested positive for the coronavirus, officials say.
Kings County Supervisor Doug Verboon told the Fresno Bee that the outbreak at Central Valley Meat Co. in Hanford accounts for nearly two-thirds of the coronavirus cases in the rural county, which has a total of 211 reported cases.
The company employs about 900 workers at two plants in Hanford and Vernon and continues to operate.
The company first reported several of its employees tested positive for the virus more than a week ago, the Fresno Bee reported.
Ninety-seven of those infected live in Kings County, 30 are Tulare County residents and the remaining 11 live in Fresno County, KFSN-TV reported.
Company officials told the Fresno television station they have been following guidelines from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and “initiated multiple other processes and procedures to provide the greatest safety measures possible for our employees.”
A telephone message requesting comment was not immediately returned.
A relative of one of one infected worker said she was disappointed the company remained opened after the first infections were reported.
“They need to take care of their employees and not let them work, if it is not safe,” Krystal Hernandez, whose father works at the plant, told the Fresno Bee. “My father said there were lots of people who were coughing, sneezing or sweating. And now he is sick, and so is his wife.”
Hernandez said her father, who did not want to be identified, became ill and stayed home last Wednesday.
“This is a dangerous situation, and no more people need to die from this,” she said.