MACHIPONGO, Va. – Coronavirus cases among workers at poultry plants on Virginia's Eastern Shore have become an increasing concern for local health officials.
The Washington Post reported Tuesday that one of the plants is operated by Perdue Farms and the other by Tyson Foods.
A debate has erupted across the country over the safety of workers in the meat industry as coronavirus cases among employees rises. But the Trump administration has insisted that such facilities must remain open to feed the country.
President Trump signed an executive order Tuesday that mandates meat production plants to stay open to prevent a food shortage.
The plants on the Eastern Shore have continued operating. Local hospital officials say there are nearly 100 cases of Tyson employees or people who came in contact with them. The Perdue plant has about 80 such cases.
There are concerns that the cases could overwhelm the local hospital.
Riverside Shore Memorial has 52 beds. Six of them are for patients in intensive care. The hospital has already sent about 10 patients to a larger hospital.
Both Perdue and Tyson said they are taking extra precautions to curb the virus's spread. For example, Tyson closed the facility for a three-day cleaning before employees came back to work.
The virus cases linked to the plants constitute a majority of the cases in the county, health officials said.