TULARE — More than 100 employees have tested positive for the coronavirus at two food-processing plants in Tulare County, health officials said.
At least 107 employees at two Ruiz Foods facilities in Dinuba and Tulare have tested positive for the virus, the Visalia Times Delta reported Tuesday.
The frozen Mexican food company, known for its El Monterey brand, last week reported 43 positive cases between the two buildings, prompting company officials to stop production lines Monday at the Dinuba facility and increase testing of its employees.
Employees at the Tulare food processing plant, where safety measures have been enhanced, continue preparing and packaging burritos, quesadillas, enchiladas and other Mexican food items.
They must undergo temperature screenings and are required to wear masks at work. Those known to have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 are being placed off work for a minimum of 14 days, the company said in an email to the newspaper.
“We have enhanced our already stringent sanitation processes and worked to improve physical distancing within the facility to the maximum extent feasible,” it said.
Ruiz Foods is working with Family HealthCare Network and the county health department to test employees, the newspaper reported.
“We worked in collaboration to identify individuals who would need to be tested first based on contact tracing,” said Tammie Weyker-Adkins, public information officer for Tulare County Health and Human Services.
As of Tuesday, Tulare County has 858 known cases of COVID-19.
As Tulare County cases continue to rise, “we are being impacted,” Ruiz Foods said in an email, noting there was an uptick in reported positive cases after Easter weekend, similar to the rest of the county.
The company employees 3,500 people in California, Texas and South Carolina. It is not clear how many of them work at the Tulare County food processing plants.
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