COVID-19 outbreak linked to Seneca Foods plant in Glencoe

More than 30 cases are linked to workers at the plant.

An outbreak of COVID-19 has been linked to a Seneca Foods processing plant in Glencoe.

There are 33 lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 linked to workers at the plant, which processes packaged fruits and vegetables, after learning of the outbreak in late July, a spokesperson with the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) told BMTN on Wednesday. 

There are also 12 suspected cases of COVID-19 who have Seneca listed as their employer and live in McLeod County. 

Among the cases linked to the outbreak at Seneca Foods, three people have been hospitalized, the spokesperson said.

MDH epidemiologists believe it's likely the cases are mostly among temporary workers hired for corn packing, but they're still gathering information to determine if that's the case, a spokesperson told BMTN, noting "a lag in processing tests" via a commercial lab due to national supply chain issues "has limited the response and contract tracing of this outbreak."

Meanwhile, McLeod County Interim Health and Human Services Director Meghan Mohs told BMTN there are positive cases at the plant and "in our broader McLeod community." 

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The number of cases in McLeod County has been on the rise. As of Aug. 12, there are 208 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in McLeod County, MDH's website notesOn Aug. 6, there were 148 confirmed cases in the county. 

The outbreak at the Glencoe plant comes as 44% of Seneca Foods' Cumberland, Wisconsin, plant's COVID-19 tests come back as positive, FOX 9 reports. Earlier in the pandemic, COVID-19 outbreaks were reported at food plants in Worthington and Willmar. 

BMTN has reached out to Seneca Foods for comment. 

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