Maryland poultry industry hard hit with 279 confirmed cases of COVID-19

2 million chickens being killed because processing plants are short-staffed
Posted at 1:26 PM, May 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-01 13:29:19-04

SALISBURY, Md. (WMAR) — Governor Larry Hogan on Friday provided an update on the state's response to COVID-19 outbreaks at poultry plants around the Delmarva area.

As of Friday, Hogan says there have been 279 lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 associated with poultry workers in Maryland.

Wicomico County, which is home to the plants now has the fourth-highest rate of COVID-19 in Maryland, more than both Baltimore City and Baltimore County.

Hogan said the outbreaks are not only a serious public health concern, but also pose a threat to Maryland’s leading agricultural industry and the nation’s essential food supply chain.

Earlier this week, Delmarva Poultry Industry, Inc. said about 2 million chickens would have to be killed over COVID-19 related staff shortages at processing plants.

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A CDC field team has been called in to work with state and local health officials on a public health plan for the Eastern Shore poultry industry.

As part of Hogan's recovery plan, a drive-thru testing site will be set up outside Perdue Stadium in Salisbury, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Friday and 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday,

Meanwhile, Hogan is planning to take part in a newly formed Delmarva Poultry Production Task Force meeting between officials in Maryland, Delaware, and Virginia, to discuss the state's response.