Department of Health testing Smithfield Foods employees
Published 3:05 pm Saturday, May 16, 2020
Smithfield Foods has confirmed that Virginia Department of Health personnel were on-site this week at the company’s meatpacking plant in town testing employees for COVID-19.
According to Keira Lombardo, Smithfield’s executive vice president for corporate affairs and compliance, the company has been working closely with a combination of local health departments and private labs to make testing available for free to all employees nationwide.
Lisa Martin, the company’s director of corporate communications, added that while the testing is voluntary for employees, Smithfield has strongly encouraged employees to get tested.
So far, the testing at the plant here in town hasn’t resulted in any new reported COVID-19 outbreaks. For the past several weeks, the number of outbreaks reported in the VDH’s Western Tidewater Health District has held steady at six – one in a correctional facility and the other five at long-term care facilities. That’s across Isle of Wight County, Southampton County and the cities of Franklin and Suffolk. A breakdown of confirmed COVID-19 cases by ZIP code, which the VDH began publishing on May 7, indicates that as of Friday, only 28 of Isle of Wight’s 115 confirmed cases originated in the Smithfield area. That’s an increase of just one from the 27 cases reported for the 23430 ZIP code on Monday.