COVID-19 cases confirmed at Jennie-O plant in Willmar

Multiple workers at the Jennie-O plant in Willmar have tested positive for COVID-19, the company confirmed on Wednesday.

A spokesperson for Hormel, Jennie-O's parent company, said in a statement all affected employees were under quarantine and it would work to identify all close contacts and have them quarantined as well. Any workers who are forced to stay home will receive 100% of their pay and benefits.

Hormel said the plant is also implementing new safety protocols, which include:

  • Training for all employees.
  • Taking employees' temperatures daily.
  • Using masks or protective face coverings.
  • Having on-site nurses to answer questions and give advice.
  • Increasing sanitation.
  • New restrictions on visitors and business travel.
  • Expanded work-from-home options.

The Willmar plant is still operating "with minimal disruption" to its supply chain.

"The company’s team of inspired people is working to ensure a consistent and steady food supply during this crisis," Hormel said.

The company did not say how many employees had tested positive for COVID-19.

Closure of Minnesota pork plants to have impact on farmers, oil prices drop below zero

The central Minnesota meat processing facility is the latest in the upper Midwest to report a coronavirus outbreak.

On Monday, JBS USA announced it was closing its Worthington, Minnesota, plant indefinitely after several of its workers tested positive for the virus. And a coronavirus outbreak forced Smithfield Foods to shut down its Sioux Falls, South Dakota, pork processing plant earlier this month.