Almost half of the employees at a Seneca Foods processing plant in Wisconsin have tested positive for coronavirus, according to the Barron County Department of Health and Human Services, a FOX 9 report shows.
In fact, approximately 44% of the fruit and vegetable processing company’s workers in the city of Cumberland have contracted the respiratory illness. The first infection the health department connected to the plant was on July 19.
Seneca Foods did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment, however, the Wisconsin National Guard reportedly administered tests for the potentially deadly virus on July 27 after a “cluster” of cases were reported to Barron County health officials.
“While this is a significant outbreak, it is not the only thing contributing to the high number of cases in Barron County,” said the department’s Health Officer Laura Sauve in a statement provided to Fox News.
Many of the cases in the county are not related to the outbreak at the food plant, she said. In 40 percent of cases, infections can be traced to travel, gatherings and crowded areas and events.
The county has reportedly seen a spike of more than 260 new cases in the last month.
As of Aug. 13, Barron County has a total case count of 315, which includes 84 active cases, 228 recoveries, one hospitalization and three deaths, according to its daily COVID-19 update. More than 6,000 tests have returned negative results.
In addition to the Wisconsin National Guard, the Barron County health department has partnered with Family Health La Clinica to provide free testing services for seasonal and full-time employees of Seneca Foods and their household members or close contacts.
The state of Wisconsin has more than 63,200 confirmed coronavirus cases, according to data from the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 Dashboard. A little more than 1,000 of those cases resulted in death while more than 53,230 have recovered.