Colorado says deadliest workplace COVID-19 outbreak resolved
DENVER (AP) — Colorado’s deadliest workplace coronavirus outbreak was declared as resolved after five months, 291 cases and six deaths.
The outbreak at the JBS meatpacking plant was considered resolved Wednesday because there have been no new cases for at least 28 days and an investigation into the outbreak has been completed, according to the state Department of Public Health and Environment.
The announcement came as families of some JBS employees who died because of the outbreak that began in April said their worker’s compensation claims were denied. JBS argued that the employees’ coronavirus infections were not work-related.
“We are disgusted, but not surprised, to hear that JBS has denied workers’ compensation to the families of our members who were infected with COVID-19 at the plant, six of whom died,” said Kim Cordova, the president of the local chapter of United Food & Commercial Workers, the union that represents the workers at the meatpacking plant. “The basis of JBS’ claim that the employee’s COVID-19 infections were not work-related is a downright lie.”
JBS did not return requests for comment made by Colorado Public Radio.
The federal government’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration fined JBS over $15,000 earlier this month for failing to adequately protect its employees from the coronavirus.
The state has reported 70,036 confirmed cases and 1,960 confirmed deaths from the coronavirus since the pandemic began, according to the state Department of Public Health and Environment.
The number of infections is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.