Tyson Foods suspends Iowa pork plant after virus outbreak

COLUMBUS JUNCTION, Iowa (AP) — Tyson Foods said Monday that it has suspended operations at a large pork processing plant in southeastern Iowa where more than two dozen workers have tested positive for the coronavirus.

Spokesman Gary Mickelson said the suspension went into effect on Monday at the plant in Columbus Junction. He said it will last for the duration of this week and be revisited at that point.

Mickelson said the plant’s 1,400 workers would continue to be paid this week despite the suspension.

He said the company was diverting livestock shipments that were scheduled to be delivered to Columbus Junction to other plants in the region, such as Waterloo and Perry.

The plant processes and packages fresh pork that is sent to retail and food service customers.

Tyson said that it has taken several steps to try to protect plant workers, including taking temperatures before their shifts and increasing cleaning and sanitizing of breakrooms, locker rooms and other areas.