More than 4,900 workers in meat and poultry processing facilities have contracted Covid-19 and at least 20 have died, according to a US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report released Friday.
At least 115 facilities in 19 states have reported cases, according to data collected by the CDC in April.
Outbreaks were particularly severe in two states: Iowa and South Dakota.
The CDC report noted that some facilities made changes to limit the spread of coronavirus, including adjusting start and stop times of shifts and breaks to space out workers. The report suggested that facilities may need to do more, including reduce the rate of animal processing to maintain physical distance on the production line. Given the industry’s diverse workforce, the report also said plants should develop “culturally informed messaging” using languages spoken by workers.
Some context: The CDC report comes days after President Trump signed an executive order to compel meat processing plants to remain open amid the pandemic.
Several companies such as Tyson Foods were considering only keeping 20% of their facilities open. The vast majority of processing plants could have shut down -- which would have reduced processing capacity in the country by as much as 80%, an official familiar with the order told CNN.
Hear to one Tyson worker's message to Trump: