Tyson Fresh Meats, a subsidiary of Tyson Foods Inc., suspended operations at a pork plant in Waterloo, Iowa after a sudden surge in coronavirus illnesses.
Nearly 200 people with close ties to the Tyson plant tested positive for coronavirus. The outbreak has also spread to the community.
Waterloo Mayor Quentin Hart said the outbreak started with 21 cases on April 9. Ten days later, there were 191 cases on April 19. The outbreak doubled in size in two days to hit to 380 cases on April 21.
The Waterloo pork plant is Tyson’s largest. It can process around 19,500 hogs per day and has around 2,800 employees.
The plant’s closure — combined with multiple Smithfield Foods pork plants and another Tyson pork plant in Columbus Junction — is sure to disrupt the U.S. pork supply.
Consumer prices for beef and pork have been steadily rising due to shutdowns at U.S. meat plants, according to Bloomberg.
In the last month, at least a dozen meat processing facilities in the U.S. have been forced to close due to coronavirus outbreaks. Many more are operating at a slower pace because workers are absent.
The largest outbreak has been linked to a Smithfield Foods pork processing facility in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, where over 900 people were infected with COVID-19.