The state reports more than 80 cases at the plant, the union says it’s more like 120. Perry Miller has this report…


New at 10:30 Thursday, 4/9/2020:

According to Maggie Seidel, Governor Kristi Noem’s Senior Advisor & Policy Director, the Governor has been in close communication with Smithfield President and CEO Ken Sullivan over the last 24 hours.  The health and safety of the Smithfield employees and the protection of our food supply is paramount.

Over the coming days, Smithfield will be taking additional steps to protect its workforce, especially those who are most vulnerable, against the spread of this virus.  The plant will undergo a temporary closure, expand its already rigorous cleaning and sanitation practices, add new physical barriers to promote further social distancing, and provide paid time off for employees with a COVID diagnosis or quarantine.

As Mr. Sullivan outlined in his announcement this morning, this plant supplies nearly 130 million servings of food per week, or about 18 million servings per day, to our country.

The Governor is appreciative of the decisive action Smithfield is taking this morning to protect its critical workers during this difficult time.

Over the coming weeks, the South Dakota Department of Health will be working closely with Smithfield leadership and plant management to help ensure all CDC guidelines are followed both inside and outside the workplace.