4/20 Update: Brown County food processors report COVID-19 cases

Posted on Apr 20, 2020 :: Insight on Business, Web Exclusive
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Posted by of Insight Publications

The JBS Beef Plant in Green Bay is the source of a large cluster of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Brown County, according to Brown County Health Department officials.

The health department could not give an exact number of cases at JBS since more positive tests are expected to come in. Brown County has 297 confirmed cases of COVID-19 — up from 180 positive cases from Friday. Not all of the new cases are linked to JBS.

JBS employees will be offered voluntary testing and the company has made changes, such as staggering lunch breaks, to help keep employees apart and halt the spread of COVID-19.

On Monday, Gov. Tony Evers announced that “2,200 test collection supplies and PPE are headed to Green Bay in response to an outbreak with significant risk potential to the community.”

Also on Monday, Salm Partners in Denmark reported that 10 employees have tested positive for COVID-19 during the past three weeks. The plant employs 500.

It has not been confirmed that any of the employees caught the virus while at work. The 10 workers have been placed on paid leave since they felt ill from symptoms.

“We have taken aggressive and immediate measures to protect our partners,” said Keith Lindsey, president and chief executive officer of Salm Partners. “Food production has been identified as an essential industry in our country and we need a healthy workforce to continue producing products to feed the nation. We are enacting all measures at our disposal to ensure the safety of our people and the food supply of our nation.”

In cooperation with the Brown County Health Department, Salm Partners is working to make free and voluntary testing available to its employees.

Salm Partners added these additional personal health protections to keep employees safe including checking employees’ temperature before they come in, increase the number of buses that bring employees to Salm Partners to ensure social distancing on the buses and employees must wear a face mask while in the plant. Some other changes that the company has made include increased its cleaning of common areas, chairs and tables are placed six feet apart in the lunchroom and one entrance is being used to ensure compliance.

Vollrath cart makes sanitizing mobile

With cleanliness and sanitation vital in public settings, such as health care facilities, long-term care facilities and retail environments, the Vollrath Company created a mobile cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting system.

Cleaning and disinfecting ideas that may be contaminated with COVID-19 can be challenging or time-consuming, especially if they are not near a water source. Stoelting, a division of Vollrath, developed a mobile cleaning cart with a fully usable sink for people to take directly to their contamination areas. The cart reduces the time and effort needed to disinfect, clean or sanitize an area.

The cart comes in two style. One style features a direct connection to a water supply with a 50-foot hose, a gray water tank and an extendable drain board for extra counterspace. The second style is fully self-contained with a battery-powered water pump and a 15-gallon fresh water tank and gray-water tank onboard. It also includes a sanitizing wand and solution. The sanitizing solution is hospital grade and meets FDA disinfecting certifications.

New guidance available for Sheboygan entrepreneurs

The Sheboygan County Economic Development Corporation (SCEDC) has partnered with the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay to provide timely guidance to Sheboygan County entrepreneurs on the various assistance programs related to the COVID-19 economic disaster.

The plan is to provide opportunities to Sheboygan County entrepreneurs to help them make informed business decisions in the current challenging economic environment.

COVID-19 assistance is ongoing for entrepreneurs. For more information, please email [email protected]