Meat processor offers initiatives part of ongoing health and safety efforts to combat COVID-19

As part of its commitment to team member safety and continually evolving efforts to protect workers from COVID-19, Tyson Foods, Inc., Springdale, Arkansas, is launching a monitoring program and expanding its occupational health staff, including a new chief medical officer position.

The comprehensive COVID monitoring strategy was designed with the assistance of outside medical experts and includes ongoing, data driven COVID testing of workers without symptoms, as well as those who exhibit certain symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who has the virus.  

“While the protective measures we’ve implemented in our facilities are working well, we remain vigilant about keeping our team members safe and are always evaluating ways to do more,” said Donnie King, Tyson Foods group president and chief administrative officer.

“We believe launching a new, strategic approach to monitoring and adding the health staff to support it will help further our efforts to go on the offensive against the virus,” he said. “Adding more resources and technologies reinforces our commitment to protecting our team members, their families and plant communities.”

Tyson Foods has been using testing as a tool to protect workers and has likely been involved in more testing than any other company in the country. Already having tested nearly a third of its workforce, the company plans to test thousands of workers every week across all of its facilities. Currently, less than 1% of Tyson Foods’ U.S. workforce of 120,000 team members has active COVID-19. The company is continually tracking active COVID-19 cases involving company team members as well as the case levels in the communities where the company operates.

The new monitoring strategy Tyson Foods is implementing was designed with input from Matrix Medical and is consistent with CDC guidance.

To support the effort, Tyson Foods has created a chief medical officer position and plans to add almost 200 nurses and administrative support personnel to supplement the more than 400 people currently part of the company’s health services team. The additional nurses will conduct the on-site testing and assist with case management, coordinating treatment for team members who contract the virus.