HOWARD COUNTY, Iowa - Iowa health officials said Wednesday a coronavirus outbreak has been confirmed in Howard County.
The outbreak was at Upper Iowa Beef in Lime Springs.
Howard County has 12 confirmed positive cases. 23 people from the meat processing plant have tested positive, but not all live in Howard County.
According to Upper Iowa Beef's management, 5 employees tested positive before April 22nd. On April 22nd, the Iowa Department of Public Health and local hospital staff came to the facility to voluntarily test employees. 50 of 125 employees chose to be tested, and 10 came back positive. Since April 22nd, another 8 employees tested positive.
Currently, Upper Iowa Beef is running at full capacity. 4 employees have yet to return to work, either because they or a family member are recovering from the virus.
Ed Greiman, general manager tells KIMT lockers and breakrooms are cleaned on the weekends and the rest of the facility is cleaned every night. Employees' breaks are being staggered to keep them apart. Anyone coming into the building is temperature checked and sent home if they show any signs of being sick. Greiman tells KIMT he believes Upper Iowa Beef is through the worst of its outbreak. "It was back there in April that we peaked, and now we're winding down," he says.
"We're doing everything we can to let anybody who has a relationship with us through business know that we've had positives here and everybody needs to be careful," adds Greiman.
The reason there's 23 confirmed cases from Upper Iowa Beef but only 12 in Howard County is because not everyone who works at Upper Iowa Beef lives in the county.
Upper Iowa Beef has a bilingual HR team that is educating employees on not only how to be safe at work, but also how to social distance at home. Commuters from Postville are no longer taking a bus to Lime Springs, but are driving themselves.