As of Monday, May 4th, 32 employees at Rantoul Foods have tested positive for COVID-19. Rantoul Foods, one of the largest meat processing plants in central Illinois, processes between 30 to 35 million pounds of pork each month. The first case at the facility was discovered on April 25, according to the company’s director of human resources, safety and business administration.
Following this initial discovery, officials were notified and the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District began by taking two immediate steps, including establishing testing for employees at the meat processing plant and working with management to implement infection control measures. With the increase in the availability of testing, more employees at the plant ended up testing positive for COVID-19.
To combat the spread of an outbreak at the facility, the plant’s common areas, restrooms, and locker rooms are sanitized at least three times a day. In order to keep employees at a safe distance, they have slowed down the processing speeds by one-half, and health officials have been monitoring the plant to ensure they are in full compliance with their recommendations to slow the spread of infections.
The plant has made it clear that they are prioritizing the safety and health of its employees because, without them, the business could not operate. Since meatpacking plants were ordered to remain open during states’ lockdowns, there has been an alarming rate of coronavirus cases linked to meat processing plants across the country. On May 4, there were reported to be at least 9,300 COVID-19 positive cases tight to meatpacking plants at about 164 plants in 27 states. This has resulted in at least 40 reported worker deaths at 21 plants.
Under the Illinois emergency rule, frontline workers, such as employees at meat processing plants, that contracted the coronavirus during the course of their employees are able to file a workers’ compensation claim. If you have contracted COVID-19 as a frontline worker during your employment, the attorneys at Spiros Law, P.C. are available to help you receive financial compensation. Although our offices are currently closed during the “shelter-in-place,” our staff can be contacted over the phone at (217) 328-2828, through our online chat services, and on email.