Nearly 40 cases of coronavirus have been traced to a Morgan Hill fish packing company that serves many retailers, the Santa Clara County’s Public Health officer confirmed Tuesday.
While Lusamerica Foods is under investigation, workers fear they could have exposed their families.
“They should shut down their company, test everybody,” said the girlfriend of one of the workers who tested positive for COVID-19, who did not want to share her identity.
“He had no symptoms, he was all in the public,” she added. “He was always told he will be fine just continue wearing a mask take the proper precautions.”
The girlfriend said he took those precautions, but like many who work at the facility, her boyfriend was afraid to complain for fear of losing his jobs.
“Lusamerica wasn’t doing anything about it, still having people go to work even through a lot of people were COVID positive,” she said.
Santa Clara County Public Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody confirmed there was a cluster of COVID-19 cases at the plant.
“The county set up testing in collaboration with the company and over the course of a day tested everyone there and identified 38 more people who were positive from the company,” Cody said.
Company officials released a statement, saying they are committed to providing a safe work environment and that “all employees at the facility have been tested. The majority are asymptomatic … and those who tested negative will be retested as a precaution.”
For one young mother, what the company is doing is not enough because her two children are now at risk.
“My kids have been around their cousin, who has asthma; it’s so upsetting. They don’t take that under consideration,” she said.
Lusamerica's full statement:
To Our Valued Customers and All Concerned:
As an essential business, we have proudly operated through this pandemic, helping to safely provide the highest quality fresh and frozen seafood to major retail and food service suppliers.
We recently experienced cases of Covid-19 at one of our facilities and have partnered with the County of Santa Clara to minimize any risk to our employees and the community. We are committed to providing a safe working environment for our entire team, while continuing to serve our customers with the high quality and service they have come to expect.
The County inspected our facility and were pleased to find the extent of the sanitation and preventative measures in place. As our partners, they are working with us to provide feedback and recommendations as new information becomes available.
We have expanded our processing and distribution capacity at our other locations and will continue to provide safe, high quality product to meet the demand of our customers. Our facilities are sanitized continuously throughout the day and at the end of each shift. Lusamerica uses Ozone sterilization, which is a very effective method for killing pathogenic bacteria and inactivating viruses.
Measures in place, to date:
All employees at the facility have been tested.
All those that have tested positive are at home; the majority are asymptomatic.
All employees that tested negative will be retested, as a precautionary measure.
We practice social distancing and have closed areas where social distancing is a challenge such as our cafeteria and locker rooms.
We provide face masks to our employees. Face masks are mandatory for everyone while on the premises.
We perform temperature checks on everyone entering the facility; employees are also checked again, later in their shift.
All team members complete a health questionnaire at the beginning of their shift.
We have added physical barriers to workstations.
We will get through this together. Stay safe.
Lusamerica Foods, Inc.