Tyson Foods Reports on Initial Testing for COVID-19


Craig, a Munjoy HIll resident, Sports a Face Covering. It’s Produced by Sufferfest, a Beer Company. He Works in Customer Service That is Keeping Him Busy These Days.

Nathaniel Rines (L) and David Ritchie, Were Both Tested at the Oxford Street Shelter, About l l/2 Weeks Ago. Both Were Found Negative for the COVID-19,  They Believe it was Mercy Hospital who Did the Universal Testing in the Side Yard at the Oxford Street Shelter.  It Took 3 Days to Get the Good News Back to Them.  Rhines was Notified by Cell Phone.  Ritchie’s Case Worker Gave him the Good News.

A Sign in the Window of a Hair Salon at the Corner of High and Congress Streets.

Dr. Nirav Shah, Director of MaineCDC, reported this afternoon that Tyson Foods, Portland, has just reported back on its initial testing for an outbreak of the COVID-19.  Of the first 96 tested over the weekend, there are five (5) confirmed cases at the  nationally based food company.  Universal testing is anticipated which will include the 400 employees.  Whether or not the testing expenses will be covered by insurance is not known or whether the cost will have to be born by the employees.

Dr. Shah said he is trying to reach out to representatives of the immigrant community who are employees of Tyson Foods.  So far, he has reached out to a representative of the Cambodian community to be sure they are not lost in the process.

Dr. Shah also reported there are now 1,205 confirmed cases of the deadly virus, an increase of 22 from yesterday.  This total does not include the five reported from Tyson Foods acknowledged above.

As to nursing home numbers, Falmouth by the Sea, a private nursing home in Falmouth Foreside, there are currently 44 cases associated with the  facility.  Dr. Shah did not indicate what the split between patients and staff may be.  Dr. Shah also announced that FEMA will be delivering a large supply of masks, goggles and other PPE to the 93 licensed, long-term facilities in Maine.  The first shipment could come any day now  and the second shipment sometime in June. Specific dates of deliveries are not known at this time.

There have been a total of seven confirmed cases of the COVID-19. in the homeless population. Five were at the Oxford Street Shelter and two were at the Sullivan Gym, on the USM campus.  All were quarantined and have now been cleared and released from quarantine.

Asked about the value of anti-body testing, Dr. Shah. said there are some good tests and some not so good.  If you are interested in obtaining one, ask your health care providers about their value.

“Our actions can affect not just ourselves, but also those around us,” said Dr. Shah in conclusion of the daily press conference.  “Stay safe out there.”