Meat Institute: Worker COVID-19 cases down, but vaccines needed
The North American Meat Institute said March 2, that COVID-19 infection rates among meat and poultry workers are more than five times lower than in the general U.S. population — 95% lower than peak case rates in the sector from May 2020 — but that more vaccines are needed.
The Meat Institute said comparing data from the Food and Environment Reporting Network and The New York Times showed that the meat and poultry sector was reported to have an average of just 4.81 new reported cases per 100,000 workers per day in February 2021, compared with 26.15 cases per 100,000 people in the general U.S. population.
Meat Institute President and CEO Julie Anna Potts said, “Nearly one year after the first reported COVID-19 cases in the sector, we are grateful that comprehensive measures instituted since spring 2020 continue to protect our dedicated workers. Vaccination supplies have so far been limited, but we urge the federal and state governments to rapidly expand vaccine access for the long-term protection of the 500,000 men and women who keep food on Americans’ tables and our farm economy working.”
Potts attributed the improvements in the meat and poultry facilities to entry screening measures, face covering, personal protective equipment, physical distancing and physical barriers within the facilities, enhanced air sanitation and ventilation and more flexible leave policies.
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