Four test positive for COVID-19 at Cowlitz County Foster Farms plant

KELSO, Wash. -- More than 100 additional tests were ordered Monday after four employees tested positive for COVID-19 at a Foster Farms processing plant in Cowlitz County.

Health officials said the employees tested positive last week. Those who tested positive and others working close to them were sent home from work.

Seventy-one employees at the plant tested negative for the virus. Six other tests were pending.

County officials said 115 additional tests of employees were ordered.

It was not immediately known how many people worked at the plant. The plant is staying open, officials said.

The news comes after a Tysons Foods chairman said the food supply chain was "breaking" following the shuttering of multiple meat plants across the country.

In recent weeks, Tyson Foods has been forced to temporarily pause operations at a number of plants following outbreaks of COVID-19, or because of staffing shortages caused by the pandemic.

Officials in Cowlitz County said they were "encouraged" by the low number of positive tests at the plant relative to the number of employees.