Indiana Packers completes testing of employees and tours county health officials through facility
DELPHI, IN— Indiana Packers Corporation (IPC), a global pork supplier based in Delphi, Indiana, announced plans to resume operations at its Delphi, Indiana, facility with support from the Carroll County Department of Health after working jointly with both the Indiana State Department of Health and the Carroll County Department of Health to complete COVID-19 testing of 2,267 employees and contractors who work in the facility. IPC announced the temporary suspension of operations on Friday, April 24, and completed the employee testing on Friday, May 1.
Carroll County’s top health official, Dr. Jordan Dutter, toured the IPC plant on Wednesday, May 6, and reviewed all the initiatives undertaken to ensure the safety of IPC’s team members.
“I was very impressed with IPC’s ongoing efforts to mitigate the spread of the virus and the Company’s dedication to best ensure the health and safety of its team members,” says Dr. Dutter. “Based upon my tour and review of IPC’s mitigation efforts, I believe the measures taken by IPC will allow those team members to work safely, as IPC continues to follow CDC guidelines and recommendations. I want to reiterate that IPC went to extensive efforts to ensure the safety of their employees, their end product and ultimately the consumers. We at the Carroll County Department of Health recognize IPC’s vital role in the food chain and in the agricultural community and are pleased that the Company is reopening operations. Indeed, the decision to reopen has my full support.”
During the pause in operations, IPC has continued to enhance its mitigation measures and follow CDC and OSHA guidance for the meat processing industry by adding more physical barriers and hand sanitizer dispensers. The plant also underwent multiple steps of deep cleaning and plant-wide sanitization. When production resumes, the company will implement a series of engineered improvements for increased physical distancing that start in the parking lot and entrances. This flow will continue with staggered start and break times. As team members enter the facility, they will be given fitted masks for the mandatory mask policy and there will be enhanced health screenings, including temperature checks, health questions and follow-up checks throughout the day. IPC further engaged with state resources who have expertise in infectious diseases.
“This pause in operations and the testing of our employees was absolutely a critical moment in our ongoing effort to create a safe work environment,” says IPC President and Chief Operating Officer Russ Yearwood. “The safety of our team members, contractors and the community are crucial. We suspected the testing process would generate an increase in positive cases unknown to us, but this was the point. This voluntary testing event identified those who are positive for the virus.”
Through the testing process, IPC identified 301 team members and contractors who tested positive, including those who were asymptomatic. That number’s roughly equal to 13% of the workforce at the facility. The appropriate county health officials have been in communication with all those who tested positive, with instruction for follow-up care and support.
Team members and individuals who received positive test results will be subject to quarantine, based upon the advice of health officials, the affected individual’s health care providers, and in accordance with CDC guidance. The remaining 87% of team members and individuals who received negative test results will be allowed to return to work when we resume operations, assuming they are not symptomatic.
“Thank you to all the dedicated workers at the State Department of Health, Carroll County Health Department, and Indiana National Guard,” says Yearwood. “The healthcare resources provided were invaluable in our ongoing efforts to protect our team members and to begin reopening as expeditiously and safely as possible.”
IPC will start limited operations on Friday, May 8.
For more information on this IPC announcement, please contact:
Jeff Feirick, Vice President Corporate Planning