JBS Swift declined to confirm or deny if any of the 33 lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Central Health Districtwere employed at its Grand Island location.

Of the 33 lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Central District Health’s jurisdiction, some of the people work in businesses and offices.

Health Director Teresa Anderson declined to identify the specific workplaces.

“When people are getting sick and going to the physicians and getting tested, they’re going to find positive cases of individuals” who are employed, Anderson said.

“So being employed at a facility doesn’t mean that the facility itself is what some people would say is a hot spot. It just means that an individual works at a site.”

That person may have “picked up COVID in the community somewhere,” she said.

People infected with the virus live in Hall, Hamilton and Merrick counties.

Nikki Richardson, who works in corporate communications for JBS USA, was contacted Thursday by The Independent.

Richardson was asked whether JBS is still working at full capacity, and whether confirmed COVID-19 cases have been found among the JBS Grand Island workers. She declined to respond to those questions.

She did, however, issue this statement from JBS:

“As the world faces the continued spread of coronavirus, many individuals and companies are being impacted, and our company is no different. We have had team members test positive for COVID-19 in some of our U.S. facilities. We are providing support to those team members and their families, and we hope they all make a full and speedy recovery. Out of respect for the families, we are not releasing further information.

“In any positive case, we are communicating directly with our team members and following guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (and Prevention), medical professionals and local health departments every step of the way. The health and safety of our team members providing food for us all during this unprecedented time remains our top priority.

“As a global food company providing an essential service during this pandemic, we have enhanced safety measures, health protocols and worker benefits to keep our workplaces, team members and products safe,” the JBS release states. “These include increased sanitation and disinfection efforts; health screening and temperature testing; and promoting physical distancing where possible by staggering starts, shifts and breaks, and increasing spacing in cafeterias, break rooms and locker rooms. The JBS Grand Island beef production facility is open, operating and meeting customer demand to ensure food is available on American grocery store shelves across the country.”

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