A food processing plant in Rochelle will be closed down for two weeks by the Ogle County Health Department because of an outbreak of COVID-19.
24 employees at Hormel’s Rochelle Foods facility have tested positive for the coronavirus. Ogle County Health Department Administrator Kyle Auman said in a news release from the city of Rochelle, “My team has spent countless hours in collaboration with Rochelle Foods in an attempt to mitigate the virus spread. Since these efforts were unsuccessful, it is my duty to order a complete closure of the facility.”
Auman said the health department’s efforts to slow the spread of the virus in the facility included:
Recommendations for additional testing
Additional steps for employee monitoring
Recommendations for additional sanitation processes
Isolation of positive cases
Quarantine of close contacts and household contacts
Recommendation of a two-week voluntary closure
Of the 24 cases linked to the Hormel facility, 19 are in Ogle County, 3 in Whiteside, and 2 in Winnebago.
Rochelle Mayor John Bearrows said there are many essential businesses still open and operating in his city, but a disregard for employee safety will not be tolerated. Rochelle Foods employees who believe they may have been exposed to the coronavirus and are showing symptoms are urged to contact their health providers.
Rochelle Foods produces products such as bacon, ham, and microwaveable meals. According to Hormel’s website, it employs more than 800 workers.