Smithfield

SDPB

This story aired as part of SDPB's series on the food supply chain. 

The coronavirus pandemic highlights just how fragile our food supply chain is. The Smithfield meat packing plant in Sioux Falls has been one of the nation’s hotspots for COVID-19. The virus infected hundreds of workers and the plant is still coming back from a three-week shut down. 

SDPB

State health officials say the majority of COVID-19 cases connected to the Smithfield meatpacking plant in Sioux Falls have recovered. Meanwhile, other meatpacking plants in the state are seeing cases among employees.

Smithfield was the largest cluster of COVID-19 cases in the nation in mid-April. In total, 841 employees and 245 of their close contacts tested positive. Two employees died.

As of Wednesday, state epidemiologist Josh Clayton says all of the close contacts have recovered. Ten Smithfield employees still have active cases of the coronavirus. 

SDPB News: May 5

May 5, 2020
SDPB

The SDPB News Podcast is where we bring you South Dakota's top news and politics headlines from the past 24 hours.

Each day, SDPB's journalism team works to bring you pertinent news coverage. We then compile those stories into one neatly formatted daily podcast so that you can stay informed. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts or Spotify today.

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SDPB

The CDC has released its report on how the Smithfield meatpacking plant in Sioux Falls can limit spread of the coronavirus. The plant remains closed after becoming one of the country’s largest cluster of COVID-19 cases.

The fifteen-page memo outlines observations from a CDC inspection. It includes things Smithfield was already doing - like screening employee temperatures when they got to work and adding plexiglass barriers between employees. 

SDPB News: April 22

Apr 22, 2020
SDPB

The SDPB News Podcast is where we bring you South Dakota's top news and politics headlines from the past 24 hours.

Each day, SDPB's journalism team works to bring you pertinent news coverage. We then compile those stories into one neatly formatted daily podcast so that you can stay informed. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts or Spotify today.

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Apr 21, 2020
PBS FRONTLINE

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SDPB News: April 20

Apr 20, 2020
SDPB

The SDPB News Podcast is where we bring you South Dakota's top news and politics headlines from the past 24 hours.

Each day, SDPB's journalism team works to bring you pertinent news coverage. We then compile those stories into one neatly formatted daily podcast so that you can stay informed. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts or Spotify today.

A Chinese Company & The Smithfield Plant

Apr 20, 2020
SDPB

In The Moment ... April 20, 2020 Show 799 Hour 1

A Sioux Falls packing plant has the highest concentration of COVID-19 cases in the country. To understand why, one expert is looking back seven years; that's when a Chinese company bought the Smithfield plant.  SDPB's Seth Tupper reports. 

SDPB

To understand why a Sioux Falls packing plant has the highest concentration of COVID-19 cases in the country, one expert is looking back seven years. 

That’s when the Chinese company WH Group completed a multi-billion-dollar acquisition of the American company Smithfield Foods, creating the largest pork company in the world. 

Impacts Of Smithfield Closure

Apr 13, 2020
SDPB

In The Moment ... April 13, 2020 Show 794 Hour 2

Smithfield Foods is closing its Sioux Falls meatpacking plant indefinitely after hundreds of its employees contracted COVID-19. Over the weekend, Governor Kristi Noem and Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHaken asked the company to close the plant for at least two weeks. 

Smithfield had already announced a three-day closure through Monday to sanitize the plant and add physical barriers. On Saturday, Governor Noem requested the company to follow the recommended 14-day isolation period for potential COVID-19 exposure.

fda.gov

The Smithfield Foods plant in Sioux Falls will close for three days this weekend after becoming a cluster of coronavirus transmission. Health officials say about 80 employees have tested positive for COVID-19. The union representing those workers says that number is closer to 120. 

State officials say they’re monitoring the situation, while the city develops a more targeted communication plan.

State officials won’t say how many new COVID-19 cases are connected to the Smithfield outbreak. And state epidemiologist Josh Clayton says they do not identify specific hotspots.