Two employees of the Tyson Foods pork plant in Columbus Junction have died of coronavirus, the company confirmed Wednesday.
The deaths are believed to be the first linked to outbreaks at meat-packing plants in Iowa, KWWL.com reports.
The news comes a day after Gov. Kim Reynolds said at least 166 employees have tested positive for coronavirus at the Tyson plant, about 25 miles southwest of Muscatine.
During her Tuesday press briefing, the governor said the true extent of the outbreak is unknown. Between Sunday and Monday, test results showed 86 workers with the virus, with another 80 positive results from Louisa and surrounding counties from last week.
“We’ll be able to tell the numbers that tested positive that’s tied to the plant and they’re working on doing that through the contact tracing,” Reynolds said, “so we’ll have those numbers going forward.”
The plan has been closed since April 6, when more than two dozen employees tested positive for COVID-19.
“Public Health has been working with management at the plant to test their staff,” Reynolds said.
The governor indicated state officials have secured extra testing supplies for the plant, which employs about 1,400 people.