What is a COVID-19 outbreak?
An outbreak is an increase in the number of cases of disease observed. In Virginia, an outbreak of COVID-19 is defined as two (2) or more lab-confirmed cases associated with a facility.
How many outbreaks have occurred in meat and poultry processing facilities in Virginia?
To date, a total of 17 COVID-19 outbreaks in meat and poultry processing facilities in Virginia have been identified.
How many confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been associated with these outbreaks? How many people experienced serious illness resulting in hospitalization or death?
The total number of confirmed cases, hospitalizations and deaths associated with these outbreaks is shown in the tables below.
|Confirmed Cases by Region1|
How have the outbreaks associated with meat and poultry processing facilities changed over time?
Initial cases of COVID-19 associated with meat and poultry processing plants were reported in March of 2020. Cases peaked in April and May. Facilities implemented multiple interventions to reduce and prevent viral transmission. Cases have since decreased significantly and only sporadic cases are being reported at this time.
|March 2020||April 2020||May 2020||June 2020||July 2020||August 2020||September 2020||October 2020||November 2020||December 2020||TOTAL|
|Total Confirmed Cases1||30||605||552||26||17||33||23||8||5||7||1306|
What interventions were put in place to prevent the transmission of disease within these facilities and the wider communities in which they exist?
The Virginia Department of Health worked with affected facilities to put a variety of interventions in place to reduce disease transmission. The most common interventions implemented in Virginia included:
- educating employees about the transmission of COVID-19
- screening employees for signs and symptoms of illness
- adding hand hygiene stations
- adding physical barriers between workers where physical distancing was not possible, and
- requiring universal face coverings
For more information about recommended interventions for meat and poultry processing facilities, check out the links below:
- VDH Interim Guidance for Implementing Safety Practices for Critical Infrastructure Workers (Non-Healthcare) During Widespread Community Transmission in Virginia: Meat and Poultry Processing Focus
- Interim Guidance from CDC and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA): Meat and Poultry Processing Workers and Employers
- MMWR Report. Update: COVID-19 Among Workers in Meat and Poultry Processing Facilities ― United States, April–May 2020
Might more cases be seen in these facilities over time?
As long as there continues to be increased community transmission of COVID-19, it is likely that we will continue to see occasional cases in meat and poultry processing plant workers over time.
For more information about epidemiologic data shared by the Virginia Department of Health, check out our Five Things to Remember When Interpreting Epidemiologic Data.
1 All data is preliminary and subject to change over time.
2 Hospitalization status at time case was investigated by VDH. This underrepresents the total number of hospitalizations in Virginia.
Source: Cases – Virginia Electronic Disease Surveillance System (VEDSS)