By Associated Press - Tuesday, May 5, 2020

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - Two Nebraska meat processing plants have announced temporary closures in the wake of a surge in coronavirus cases among meatpacking plant workers.

A Tyson Foods pork plant in Madison and a Cargill beef plant in Schuyler announced Monday that they would temporarily shut down production to deep clean the plants, the Omaha World-Herald reported. Tyson said it will await the results of workers who had been tested for COVID-19 last weekend before deciding when it will reopen.

The closures follow that last week of Tyson’s beef processing plant in Dakota City - its largest in the U.S. - that sidelined some 4,300 workers. The plant had been scheduled to restart production Tuesday, but Tyson postponed the reopening to await results of COVID-19 tests for its workers.

The plant closures will affect more than 3,000 workers and will likely slow the ability of producers to get hogs and cattle to slaughter, officials said.

The latest closures in Nebraska come even as some meat processing plants across the country are cautiously reopening after President Donald Trump’s executive order last week classified them as critical infrastructure.

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