ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – An outbreak of COVID-19 at AbiMar Foods in Abilene has led to the testing of all 500-600 employees, revealing 10% of the company’s workforce is positive for the virus.
During a press conference Monday morning, the City of Abilene addressed the outbreak, saying AbiMar has been proactive in fighting COVID-19, even before their first positive case.
On March 17, the AbiMar CEO attended a meeting with the Abilene-Taylor County Public Health Department to learn more about how to keep their employees safe during the pending COVID-19 pandemic.
In the following days, they implemented more than 50 measures to follow CDC recommendations, including screening all employees, cleaning and sanitizing every third shift, and moving 90% of their employees to telecommute.
The first positive COVID-19 case was confirmed at AbiMar Foods on March 30, and by April 10, there were 5 cases, with the virus present at both their north and south locations.
Prior to April 10, the Health Department says AbiMar Foods had been proactively working to identify and isolate employees who were potentially exposed to the virus or had contact a positive case.
By the time the business closed until further notice on April 13, more than 100 employees were quarantined at home with full pay.
Once an outbreak was identified at AbiMar Foods, the Abilene Diagnostic Clinic approached the CEO, and he agreed to pay for testing for all 500-600 AbiMar employees.
50 total employees tested positive for COVID-19 as of April 19.
Now, City Manager Robert Hanna says AbiMar is going to follow a tentative tiered plan for reopening, which will begin with cleaning and sanitizing both factory locations, followed by resuming operations with a reduced workforce.
Employee screenings will also continue and all new hires will be tested for COVID-19 before entering the factories. Masks, gloves, and in certain cases even face shields will be provided and required.
If there are additional positive cases after reopening, AbiMar Foods and the City will work together to establish a different plan.
AbiMar Foods’ potential reopening date has not been determined.
A total of 144 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in the City of Abilene, with testing numbers being updated each afternoon.
BigCountryHomepage will continue to provide information about COVID-19 in Abilene. Check back for the latest.
By: Erica Garner
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