FOX 31’s “Not That” Rob Low updates from Greeley on the plight of workers at the JBS beef backing plant, which was closed temporarily in April after a number of employees died from COVID-19 infections. This the plant that has made nationwide headlines in recent weeks after workers were promised proper testing to isolate positive cases and prevent spread on the plant’s crowded meatpacking lines, before the plant reopened without those tests being performed over the angry protests of the union representing JBS workers.
But thanks to the state of Colorado, as of May 11 it appears that JBS’s thousands of workers in Greeley will finally all be tested, weeks after the plant reopened on April 24:
The meat packing plant home to the largest coronavirus outbreak in Weld County began testing all its workers for the virus Monday morning.
As of Monday, 280 JBS employees had tested positive for COVID-19. Seven had died.
Previously, JBS only provided free testing to workers who showed symptoms of COVID-19…
“There are a large number of workers that are asymptomatic and they may be carrying the virus and they can spread that throughout the plant and the community, so we need daily testing for all of those workers,” said Kim Cordova, president of the UFCW/Local 7 union.
But even with this positive development, there’s still a a great deal of uncertainty:
Due to limited test availability and capacity, JBS said team members cannot get tested more than once using the drive-thru option.
Sen. Cory Gardner, who after Vice President Mike Pence promised immediate assistance took credit for obtaining 5,000 COVID-19 tests specifically for the Greeley JBS plant which as it turns out were not administered before the plant reopened, hasn’t updated his script on the matter since the scandal over the plant’s lethal outbreak and unsafe reopening became national news. Keep in mind what he said about testing at this plant back on April 27:
We were working with Dr. Birx to try to find a guidance and a solution to keep that plan from closing and then what it would mean. So the vice president, we worked together. We got 5,000 tests for that plant, and they’re up and running again as of this past Friday. [Pols emphasis]
It’s a good thing of course that the state is finally ensuring over two weeks after Gardner made these claims that all the workers at this plant are actually being tested for COVID-19, but this should have been done weeks ago–before the plant was ever allowed to reopen. At this point, there’s no undoing that error. All we can do is try, while making sure “essential” meat continues to flow to American consumers, to keep these workers as safe as any other essential worker in America going forward.
For Gardner, who would have us hayseeds back home in Colorado believe he’s responsible for the entire global foreign aid programs of Taiwan and South Korea, this means making sure these promises are actually kept before they go into campaign literature.