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No COVID-19 outbreak identified at Tyson Pet Products in Independence

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INDEPENDENCE, Iowa (KWWL) -- The state has not identified an outbreak of COVID-19 at the Tyson Pet Products facility in Independence, IA.

KWWL has received numerous calls regarding the facility and potential cases within. No cases have been publicly disclosed by health officials or by Tyson corporate.

The manufacturer employs 234 people at Tyson Pet Products. Buchanan county has 22 cases of COVID-19 based on the state's latest numbers that were released Tuesday.

Tyson corporate notes implementing the same measures as other plants including temperature checks, an easing of attendance policy, etc.

Amy Mccoy, spokesperson for the Iowa Department of Public Heatlh, says for an outbreak to be declared at such a plant there has to be "10% absenteeism or 10% of workforce is a confirmed case or identified to be close contact."

She also noted that the name of such a business would only be released if it was determined by the state medical director, Dr. Caitlin Pedati, to be necessary for the public's protection.

According to Mccoy, "information will not be released about businesses which request assistance for prevention, mitigation or surveillance testing unless they are determined to have an outbreak."

Health officials have continued to cite privacy laws in requests to specific information about cases of the virus within a particular business.

As to why the plant is considered "essential," Tyson corporate referred us to guidance set in place by the US Department of Homeland Security that sees the plant as part of the country's critical infrastructure.

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