Colorado Gov. Jared Polis provided an update on the outbreak at the JBS plant in Greeley.
“Colorado’s beef industry is a critical part of our state’s economy, which is why we continue working closely with the Weld County public health department to ensure the safety of the JBS workers and get the plant open as soon as is safe in order to protect the food supply,” said Governor Jared Polis. “We should all be doing our part and staying home as much as possible, but when we leave the house for essential activities it’s critical that we wear a face mask to protect those around us.”
The priority in this situation remains protecting workers and the Greeley community at large, as well as getting this critical part of the national food infrastructure back online. JBS closed the facility for a deep cleaning on March 10, and will be closed for two weeks. The Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) and Weld County Public health have been in conversations with JBS to design an aggressive testing and containment strategy, so they can continue their critical work which ranchers and consumers rely on. Gov. Polis has prioritized the Colorado National Guard to provide logistical support for testing so the plant can safely start up again. Affected JBS workers should contact the Department of Labor and Employment at coloradoui.gov to be connected with potential benefits or assistance.
The Governor also announced that the state will begin releasing all available race and ethnicity data on reported cases of COVID-19 in the state. The data released currently represents 75% of all reported COVID-19 cases, initial disease reports to public health are often missing information on race and ethnicity. CDPHE is drafting a public health order to clarify the type of data the department needs from health care entities. The public health order will help the department have a more complete dataset moving forward. The initial data shows that that the percentage of cases is statistically higher for Hispanic/Latino, African Americans, and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander Coloradans compared to the overall population distribution.
Affected JBS workers should contact the Department of Labor and Employment at coloradoui.gov to be connected with potential benefits or assistance.
The administration is also continuing conversations with the hospital association around hospital discharge data and the best way to report patients who have recovered and have been discharged. CDPHE is also working with local public health departments to gather comprehensive and uniform data.
On April 3, Governor Polis urged all Coloradans to wear masks to limit the spread of COVID-19 when leaving their homes for critical activities. Gov. Polis encouraged Coloradans to participate in the Colorado Face Mask Design Challenge. Some of the submitted designs will be featured on the Colorado Creative Industries Facebook page, and a select few will be printed on real face masks produced by Colorado companies and will be available for purchase. Coloradans can submit designs by filling out the submission form and can learn more about the challenge here.
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