Tyson Foods working to fight new wave of COVID-19

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SPRINGDALE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – Springdale-based Tyson Foods said it is going on offense to fight new waves of COVID-19.

This comes after months of controversy regarding coronavirus outbreaks in its poultry plants, with many workers claiming they have not been protected from the virus.

The poultry giant said it has invested $540 million to fighting the virus by purchasing thermometers and weekly testing supplies as well as hiring people to enforce social distancing.

The company will also add medical staff and create health clinics in addition to providing more benefits for employees.

“These workers have been exposed to get sick without any benefits, without any compensation, many workers are dying and keep dying,” said Magaly Licolli, director of an organization that advocates for poultry workers called Venceremos.

Licolli said, based on her conversation with Tyson employees, it is hard to believe these guidelines were ever implemented.

“Monitoring workers-that’s not happening and it’s been a year of the pandemic in the country and for them to be sitting down and just analyzing what’s going on without immediate action, it’s concerning,” she said.

Tyson, on the otherhand, said this year has been a learning opportunity.

“We’ve learned a great deal during the pandemic and are implementing measures such as a new Covid-19 testing strategy, which are enabling us to move from defense to offense in our efforts to actively search for and fight the virus,” said Johanna Söderström, executive vice president & chief human resources officer for Tyson Foods.

The company said it is currently testing thousands of workers every week as part of it’s industry-leading monitoring strategy.

In addition to testing those with symptoms or who have been in close contact with someone COVID-19 positive, the company is also looking to find the virus by testing workers with no symptoms.

However, Licolli said, unfortunately, these strategies cannot fix the damage that has already been done for many.

“Many workers are facing long term effects after Covid many are getting sick,” she said.

Tyson spokespeople declined our requests for an on-camera interview. You can read more about its new initiatives to curb COVID-19 here.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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