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Meat packing plants ordered to stay open, NC workers continue to test positive

During the COVID-19 pandemic, there's been a high demand of meat across the state, but there's also been many reports of virus outbreaks in meat packing facilities.

Posted Updated

Kasey Cunningham
, WRAL reporter & Maggie Brown, WRAL Multiplatform producer
NEW HANOVER COUNTY, N.C. — There's a concern about food supply across the state of North Carolina as the COVID-19 pandemic progresses.

Nationally, there's a high demand of meat, but there's also been many reports of virus outbreaks in meat packing facilities in North Carolina.

President Donald Trump signed an executive order which went into action on Tuesday that requires meat processing plants to stay open even if multiple workers become infected with coronavirus. The goal of this new presidential order is to stop the national meat shortage. But, it could have negative effects for those who go to work every day in those factories with little protection.

A Smithfield employee who spoke to WRAL News said they were not in favor for this order, and that they were not getting enough protection while working at these meat plants.

Last week, a drive-thru testing at Mountaire Farms, a meat-packing plant in Siler City, resulted in 74 positive cases -- 21% of the 356 people tested at the plant on Thursday and Friday. The two-day testing, targeting symptomatic employees and their families, is the largest mass testing to date at a food processing facility in North Carolina.

Steve Troxler, the state's agricultural commissioner, is addressing the state's concern over meat supply and President Trump's executive order on Wednesday at 3 p.m.

Despite the uncertainty surrounding the meat-packing industry, House of Raeford Farmsis holding its chicken sale Wednesday and Thursday at 9 a.m. and at the North Carolina State Fairgrounds.

Available for purchase is 40 pound cases of jumbo boneless skinless breasts and thighs, drumsticks and frozen party wings.


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