Foster Farms in Livingston given additional time before temporarily closing due to COVID-19 outbreak

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LIVINGSTON, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) — The Merced County Department of Public Health has allowed Foster Farms in Livingston additional time before closing for disinfection due to a COVID-19 outbreak.

The Department of Public Health says they issued a revised Health Officer Order, requiring the closure of Foster Farms Plant Building for a six-day period beginning the evening of Tuesday,
Sept. 1 and until the evening of Monday, Sept. 7. Previously, the facility was to close by Saturday at 6 p.m.

The health department said the additional time was given due to the “massive coordination efforts
required to prepare the facility for appropriate disinfection and safe removal of poultry.”

In a statement on Saturday by Foster Farms officials, they say the Livingston poultry plant is the largest component of the complex, and say symptomatic cases are in decline following a July peak.

Officials say the closure will allow for deep cleaning and employee testing which they will be offered at no charge.

If proper deep cleaning and employee testing are not achieved by then, then the closure could be extended.

The company also says they will complete two rounds of deep cleaning and two rounds of COVID-19 testing covering all 1,400 plant employees.

“The testing program will ensure that all workers first reentering the plant on September 7 will be free of COVID-19. Concurrently, Foster Farms will have completed two rounds of testing for all other major processing and logistical facilities that comprise the Livingston Poultry Complex,” according to the statement.

Officials say the most severe and long-lasting outbreak in Merced County is at the Foster Farms Livingston Facility and has been declared an outbreak since June 29. There are 392 employees who have tested positive and eight have died.

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