The closure follows a wave of meat-plants closing after extreme COVID-19 outbreaks which have been blamed on a lack of regard for staff safety on the job.

Bornstein Seafoods has closed two processing plants in Astoria after 13 of its workers tested positive for the coronavirus. It’s the latest outbreak to strike a food processing facility.

“We are working hand in hand with county health officials to increase testing and implement contact tracing,” Andrew Bornstein, vice president, wrote in an email Tuesday. “We are advising all of our employees to self-isolate and quarantine as advised by public health until further notice and guidance is provided.”

The company brought in Clatsop County health officials last month to advise staff on safe operations during the coronavirus outbreak, Bornstein wrote. He didn’t specify what steps the company took in response to that guidance but said with county health department will test Bornstein’s remaining employees Tuesday. The company employs more than 200 in Astoria.

The Daily Astorian reported the test results Monday.

Across the country, food processing facilities have become a hotbed of coronavirus infections. Many have continued operating during the outbreak to provide a steady supply of food, but employees often work in close quarters with poor ventilation.

National Frozen Foods in Albany had 18 positive tests for the coronavirus last week, according to the Albany Democrat-Herald. The Tri-City Herald reported Sunday that 144 workers at a Tyson Fresh Meats plant in Wallula, Washington, have tested positive for the coronavirus and two have died.

Original source: https://www.oregonlive.com

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