There are now 25 confirmed cases of Covid-19 tied to the Prestage hog processing plant south of Eagle Grove, as reported Thursday, April 23 by Wright County Emergency Management. Eighteen of those cases are workers brought into Wright County from Black Hawk County. Other cases are tied to Prestage employees from four counties:
Hamilton County - 3
Humboldt County - 2
Wright County - 1
Webster County - 1
According to information released April earlier by WCEM, 62 workers have been commuting from Black Hawk County to Wright County. On Thursday, April 16, Prestage reported this fact to the Wright County Board of Health. That same day, Prestage started taking the temperature of everyone entering the facility. Company and county officials agreed that measures should be taken because of the large number of Covid-19 cases in Black Hawk County.
At first, just the 62 Black Hawk employees were tested, and 16 tests were positive. Then, on April 19, local officials asked the state for help in testing all the employees at Prestage. This work was completed April 22. In total, 867 persons were checked, and of those, 25 were positive for Covid-19. The number of Black Hawk employees had grown from 16 to 18, plus the seven from other counties.
Meanwhile, pressure continued to grow from city and county officials asking the Tyson company to close their Waterloo hog processing plant after 400 of the 2,800 workers there became ill, and one person died. The company agreed to shut down the factory April 22 and test every employee.
According to Wright County Epidemiologist Sandy McGrath, “This situation (Wright County) was not the result of an outbreak, but from surveillance of potential Covid-19 activities in our area. I am pleased that this is not an outbreak. We need to keep in mind that all of the individuals tested were asymptomatic (they didn't show any signs). It is imperative to keep up good practices of social distancing, hand washing, wearing face coverings and following IDPH guidelines.”