DELPHI — Indiana Packers Corp. in Delphi plans to start testing its employees for the COVID-19 virus so that it can restart operations.
Last week, the pork processing plant temporarily shut down “out of an abundance of caution” due to the increasing number of positive COVID-19 tests in neighboring communities.
IPC officials say they’ve been working with Indiana State Department of Health staff in laying out plans to resume operations. A large part of that plan is having ISDH officials begin testing IPC’s Delphi employees for the coronavirus.
“This collaboration with the state is absolutely critical to our steps in creating a safe work environment for our team members,” Russ Yearwood, IPC president and chief operating officer, said. “We are extremely grateful to all the dedicated workers at the state department of health, and the leadership and support of the Carroll County Health Department, for the resources they are committing to help us reopen as expeditiously and safely as possible.”
The testing will start April 30 and is expected to occur over a two-day period, with results thereafter. IPC workers will be contacted either by phone or email to schedule a test. ISDH, working in conjunction with the appropriate Carroll County health officials, will be in communication with those who test positive for follow-up care and investigation.
After employee testing is complete, Yearwood said IPC will identify a date to resume operations.
On April 16, an office worker at the facility tested positive for COVID-19 and was placed into quarantine for 14 days, which expires on or around April 30.
All told, company officials said 15 employees have tested positive for the virus.
Last week, officials said Indiana Packers has, over the past several months, implemented a number of CDC-recommended changes, including “significant measures to maximize physical distancing, enhanced daily cleaning and sanitization, and team member screenings/temperature checks at the start of each work shift.”
IPC employees continue to receive pay during the temporary closure, officials said.