Green Bay JBS Plant Linked to Almost 150 COVID-19 Cases

Almost 150 cases of COVID-19 have been traced to employees of JBS Packerland in Green Bay, Wisc., and their relatives who live with them, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. It appears to be the state’s largest outbreak from a single facility.

Brown County Officials traced 39 other cases to American Foods Group and 10 to Salm Partners in Denmark, the Sentinel reports. It says that Green Bay neighborhoods near JBS Packerland and American Foods Group have some of the highest concentrations of COVID-19 cases in the state.

This week JBS began conducting voluntary testing for employees at the Green Bay Plant after investigators with the CDC arrived to help local officials with contact tracing, the Sentinel says. It also ramped up sanitation efforts, staggering breaks and lunch periods and requiring sick employees to stay home from work.

The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, which represents JBS employees, announced that roughly 1,000 workers in Green Bay will receive temporary pay raises of $4 an hour, the Sentinel says.

"We will endeavor to keep our facilities open to help feed the nation, but we will not operate a facility if we do not believe it is safe," JBS spokesman Cameron Bruett said. "The health and safety of our team members remains our number one priority."

Bruett also notes that the company ordered masks and thermometers in March and required the masks to be worn company-wide on April 13.