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Johnsonville facility in Holton, Kansas shut down due to positive COVID-19 tests

Johnsonville packaging facility
Johnsonville packaging facility(WIBW)
Published: May. 13, 2020 at 10:15 AM CDT
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Another Northeast Kansas food processing plant is temporarily halting operations after a "small number of COVID-19 cases" were confirmed at their facility.

A spokesperson for Johnsonville said they suspended production today after five of their employees were confirmed to have the virus at their Holton sausage processing plant.

“It’s a tough decision to halt production, but we appreciate Johnsonville for doing this to help us stop the spread of COVID-19,” says Angie Reith, Jackson County Health Officer. “The Johnsonville team has implemented aggressive safety measures and did so early on to protect their workforce, and those efforts have helped immensely in identifying the virus in the facility as quickly as possible. We’ll continue our collaboration to minimize the spread of the virus.”

Johnsonville says all employees will continue to get paid, and downtime will be used to implement even more aggressive safety protocols before reopening. Some new safety protocols include placing additional barriers between workstations where social distancing is not possible, additional testing among all staff, additional sanitation and providing masks for members to wear.

The company says other sausage processing facilities throughout the Midwest should be able to keep up with demand.

Johnsonville is the City of Holton's largest employer.

Jackson County Health Officer Angie Reith commended Johnsonville for implementing aggressive safety measures early on, which helped them identify the virus in the facility as quickly as possible.

As of Tuesday, Jackson County had only 7 confirmed cases of COVID-19, and two of those have since recovered.