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Iowa pork plant reopens after outbreak; a 2nd begins testing

April 21, 2020 GMT
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds speaks during a news conference on COVID-19 at the State Emergency Operations Center in Johnston, Iowa, Monday, April 20, 2020. Gov. Kim Reynolds said Monday that Iowa's meatpacking plants will stay open and continue to spread the coronavirus among workers, warning that shutting them down would be devastating for farmers and the food supply. (Olivia Sun/The Des Moines Register via AP )
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds speaks during a news conference on COVID-19 at the State Emergency Operations Center in Johnston, Iowa, Monday, April 20, 2020. Gov. Kim Reynolds said Monday that Iowa's meatpacking plants will stay open and continue to spread the coronavirus among workers, warning that shutting them down would be devastating for farmers and the food supply. (Olivia Sun/The Des Moines Register via AP )

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — One Iowa pork plant at the center of a major coronavirus outbreak reopened Tuesday as another began testing all employees to learn the scope of their infections.

Tyson Foods resumed limited operations at its pork processing plant in Columbus Junction, where more than 200 workers have become infected and at least two have died.

The plant, which has about 1,400 employees, had been shut down for two weeks after reporting the outbreak. Gov. Kim Reynolds sent more than 1,000 tests to the area last week.

Tyson declined to release the number of employees who tested positive. But the Louisa County health department said last week that 148 infections were tied to the plant. In recent days, the governor’s office has reported more than 100 additional cases.

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In northern Iowa, Wright County officials reported Monday that 16 employees at a pork processing facility run by Prestage Foods of Iowa have tested positive.

The county said those employees were among 62 tested because they commute to the plant from Black Hawk County, which is facing an outbreak linked to another Tyson Foods plant.

Based on those results, the county and the company requested 950 tests from the state so that all workers could be tested starting Monday.