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State Responding to COVID-19 Outbreak at Guymon Pork Processing Facility

The number of workers workers at a pork processing plant in Guymon testing positive for the coronavirus is up to at least 151, according to state officials on Wednesday.

Gov. Kevin Stitt said the state is helping the situation at the Seaboard Foods plant by sending health department contact tracers and offering housing at a public college about 20 minutes away in Goodwell.

"I think the company is still deciding whether they want to put the positive patients in the housing there at Panhandle State or their actual workers because they’re trying to keep that food supply, keep the processing plant open as safely as possible," Stitt said.

State Secretary of Agriculture Blayne Arthur said shutting the plant down would be difficult.

"Certainly, in the pork industry, but also in the poultry industry, we are feeding animals to be just in time for consumption by consumers. And so, stopping the chain of those animals is very challenging and has some unique dynamics to it," Arthur said.

Seaboard Foods said it is providing its 2,700 workers in Guymon masks and hand sanitizer, encouraging them to physically distance from each other, and taking the temperature of everyone entering the plant. Workers have disputed those claims in media reports.

Matt Trotter joined KWGS as a reporter in 2013. Before coming to Public Radio Tulsa, he was the investigative producer at KJRH. His freelance work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times and on MSNBC and CNN.
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