At least 140 workers who work in a Los Angeles slaughterhouse that processes pork have tested positive for COVID-19.
The outbreak was reported at the Farmer John factory in Vernon, which produces the popular Dodger Dog, the 10-inch pork sausage hot dog sold at Dodger Stadium during home games played by the Major League Baseball team.
The factory is owned by Smithfield Foods, the large meat producer who was forced to close several factories earlier this spring due to COVID-19 outbreaks in their factories.
The first outbreak at the Vernon plant was in mid-April, when six people who worked in the ham boning department tested positive for COVID-19, according to LAist.
Employees are seen in front of a Farmer John slaughterhouse in Vernon, California on Thursday. At least 140 employees in the factory tested positive for COVID-19
The plant is known for its signature product, the Dodger Dog, a pork sausage sold during the Los Angeles Dodgers home games at Dodger Stadium
Smithfield Foods, the Virginia-based company, said on Sunday that they have strict health protocols in place at all their sites.
“Our Smithfield Family members are critical to our country’s response to COVID-19,” the company said in a statement.
“We thank them for keeping food on American tables and taking aggressive measures to protect their health and safety during this pandemic.”
The company says it has installed plastic barriers in its factories. It also states that workers should undergo regular temperature checks.
Smithfield employees also benefit from free virus testing and personal protective equipment, including masks and face shields.
The 2018 image above shows pigs before being slaughtered at the Vernon facility
The company had to temporarily close several factories, including one in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, where 800 workers were infected with COVID-19.
The closures affected the national supply of meat.
In Los Angeles County, there are at least 44,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19. More than 2,000 people died.
Californians are moving out as the state eases virus rules
While California residents ventured outside to take advantage of sunshine and relaxed rules to control the spread of the coronavirus, authorities said weekend memorial weekend masses and beaches and parks were manageable, with most people wearing face cover and social distances.
Restrictions on staying at home have eased in much of the state, reducing the number of hospital admissions with COVID-19.
About 47 of the 58 counties have been allowed to reopen most of the shops, restaurants, and many public spaces by meeting national standards for virus control.
In the mountain resort community of Big Bear Lake, a steady stream of out-of-town visitors stopped by the Copper Q cafe to get coffee and pastries.
The city in San Bernardino County, northeast of Los Angeles, announced last week that it had decided not to impose Governor Gavin Newsom’s safety regulations, arguing that it has kept COVID-19 cases manageable and that significant economic damage has been done.
Residents of San Francisco Bay spend the day on Sunday in Baker Beach
On Saturday, the county met state requirements for controlling the virus outbreak and was approved by California health officials to join dozens of counties that could delve deeper into the second of Newsom’s four-stage reopening.
“It’s not full, but the crowds are reasonable,” said Copper Q manager Ashley Coleman.
“People keep their distance and of course everyone wears a mask.”
Many Southern California beaches were only open for swimming, running, and other activities.
Sunbathing and group activities such as volleyball were prohibited.
The Los Angeles County waterfront saw lighter crowds than expected over the first weekend when officials announced reopened bike lanes and some seaside parking lots, said Nicole Mooradian, spokeswoman for the Department of Beaches and Harbor.
“People definitely take advantage of the bike lanes,” she said.
“Everyone is very happy that they are open again.”
Volunteers acted as ‘goodwill ambassadors’ to remind beachgoers to keep moving and not plant chairs and coolers in the sand, Mooradian said.
The county has partially opened parking spaces at popular beaches, including Zuma, Dockweiler, Will Rogers, Malibu Surfrider, and Torrance.
Mooradian was unaware of anyone receiving quotes for violating health regulations. But she said officials would not hesitate to close beaches if they got overcrowded.
In southern Orange County, people were walking dogs, biking, and surfing Huntington Beach.
Most did not wear masks.
At nearby Sunset Beach, some people were fishing in the ocean.
Despite signals that urged people to keep moving, some beachgoers sat on chairs on the sand early in the morning.
Vacationers are going to Venice Beach on Memorial Day as security restrictions on Los Angeles County’s corona virus continue to ease
The easing of the rules in many provinces has been the most drastic reduction in those who have stayed home since the governor issued them in mid-March.
They include the counties of Riverside and Sonoma, which were cleared on Friday to join the others that delve deeper into the second of a four-stage reopening plan because they meet state standards for controlling the virus.
Some saw it as a safety test when the state was willing to celebrate its first major holiday weekend since a statewide mid-March put pressure on all essential travel and businesses.
Social distance practices are cited as the main reason why deaths and hospitalizations have slowed in many countries, and people have been urged to keep their masks on and keep their guard on while enjoying recently reopened bike paths, hiking trails and beaches.
“It’s nice outside. That does not mean that # COVID19 has disappeared. Wash your hands. Keep 6 feet apart. Wear a face covering. Be smart. Your actions can literally save lives, ‘tweeted Newsom on Sunday.
Meanwhile, hundreds of protesters gathered outside the Capitol on Saturday to protest those who stayed behind.
Demonstrators demanded that Newsom completely lift its restrictions on business, religious gatherings, and other activities.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough, that disappear within two to three weeks.
For some, especially the elderly and those with pre-existing health problems, it can cause a more serious illness, including pneumonia and death.
Los Angeles County, the state’s largest with 10 million people, has been hardest hit by COVID-19, with over 44,000 cases and nearly 2,100 deaths.
Hospitalization and increased testing, which allows for faster identification, treatment and isolation of people who test positive for COVID-19 and their close contacts, helped slow the spread of infections, health officials said Saturday.
However, the state continues to see troubling COVID-19 flare-ups.
Imperial County, across the border from Mexico, has seen a wave.
In Northern California, Santa Cruz County public health officials investigated four separate clusters of COVID-19 cases related to family gatherings, including a multi-generational Mother’s Day celebration and a large gathering of people traveling outside of the state.
In San Francisco, officials drew large chalk circles on the grass in parks to show people where to sit.
Dolores Park has seen large crowds of people on sunny weekends, prompting Mayor London Breed to warn it would shut it down if people were no longer responsible.
Economic suffering after more than two months of business shutdowns and less crowds, some popular escape communities welcomed visitors.
But South Lake Tahoe in the northern Sierra Nevada and Mammoth Lakes in the eastern Sierra urged non-residents to stay away, concerned that tourist swarms could cause more COVID-19 cases and flood their medical systems.
The Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office warned that the beaches would be closed except for a few hours in the morning, and strongly discouraged tourism from the San Francisco Bay Area, Central Valley, and Sacramento areas.