The Tyson Fresh Meats plant south of Pasco will be allowed to continue operating as long as it complies with directives put forth by the Walla Walla County Health District.

Officials confirmed that six positive cases of COVID-19 in Walla Walla County are linked to employment at Tyson Fresh Meats in Wallula.

The Benton-Franklin Health District reported 28 more positive tests are from Tyson employees who live in Benton and Franklin counties, with two additional probable cases, bringing the total number of linked cases to 30. Tyson is now providing surgical masks for all employees, which they may wear if they so choose, screening employees for fever, increasing the required distance between individuals, spacing out the starting of shift times and having a team dedicated to cleaning and sanitizing the facility.

Meghan DeBolt, Walla Walla County’s Director of Community Health, said, “We know isolation and quarantine is not a natural state and thus, it is likely, even if we close the plant, that transmission amongst workers will continue while at home. We cannot guarantee that everyone will stay home, stay healthy.”

The beef production plant on Dodd Road employs about 1,400 people. Elsewhere, Tyson Foods and other meat-producing plants have had similar breakouts of the coronavirus among workers.

This press release has the details.