COVID-19 HEALTH HOME

FOSTER FARMS EMPLOYEES SOUND ALARM OVER CORONAVIRUS

Several Foster Farms employees in Fresno sound the alarm that Coronavirus in spreading in their facilities, and management is not taking serious steps to protect them.

One employee in Fresno who tested positive for Coronavirus is blaming Foster Farms for failing to put strict measures in place to prevent the spread of the virus. 

“They’re not taking it seriously because they think we’re faking it,” said an employee who has tested positive of Coronavirus but wanted to remain anonymous, out of fear for losing his job.

The allegation comes amid a sobering report from the White House Coronavirus Taskforce. It identifies Central Valley Ca as one among ten other hot spots across the nation where the virus is surging. 

In a private call with state and local officials leaked to Center of Public Integrity, Dr. Deborah Birx, one of the leading scientists in the Coronavirus Task Force, can be heard warning of surges in Baltimore, Cleveland, Columbus, Indianapolis, Las Vegas, Miami, Minneapolis, Nashville, New Orleans, Pittsburgh, St. Louis and Central Valley, Ca.

Dr. Birx’s warning is cause for alarm in the Valley, but preventative conditions at the Foster Farms Fresno facilities do not measure up to the challenge. 

“Sanitizing is not happening; they did it for a short time and then stopped,” the employee said. “At night, they don’t have anybody sanitizing or cleaning the area.”

He said his poultry processing facility, which has at least 1000 workers, has seen at least 70 people test positive for Coronavirus and some hospitalized. Still, there are no measures taken to improve the situation and stop the spread. 

The number of sick and hospitalized patients could not be verified because there is no data available from Foster Farms or the city. 

Foster Farms in Fresno has not responded to our call. A call to media relations office at the Foster Farms facility located on 2960 South Cherry Ave, was received by a man who said he could not discuss the matter because he was on his way to a meeting. 

And a call to the facility located on 900 Belgravia Ave, went to voicemail, prompting us to call the consumer affairs line. A woman, who identified herself as Fitayah, answered the call and said she would have somebody get back to us as soon as possible. We will update our report accordingly. 

Foster Farms has been on the news nationwide because of widespread Coronavirus infections in their facilities. In the Central Valley, ABC30 reported on July 10 that 13 employees had tested positive of Coronavirus in the Foster Farms facility located in Livingston, Ca. 

An employee who said he works in the Cherry Avenue facility said he was concerned the outbreak in the Livingston facility is not yet contained. It could spread to their facility because of cross-facility interaction. 

Preventative measures such as Social distancing and mask-wearing, while required, are not enforced in the facilities, leading to some employees not following the guidelines. A photo shows employees, some not wearing masks crowded in a narrow hallway.   

An employee for another Fosters Farm facility in Fresno said his workplace is also experiencing a similar lack-of-seriousness attitude from management toward Coronavirus. 

Crowded hallways and break areas are common, the employee said, and the water fountain is still in use without restriction, and while they’re required to wear masks, people who fail to wear them don’t face any consequences. 

“No action has been taken to space-out employees working closely together to promote social distancing; it’s as there is no virus out there killing people,” the employee said. 

So far, 157 people have died in Fresno County from Coronavirus, 19 deaths reported in the Tuesday update. 

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