Kraft Heinz worker tests positive for coronavirus

Updated: Apr. 15, 2020 at 3:20 PM EDT
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LOWVILLE, N.Y. (WWNY) - An employee at Kraft Heinz in Lowville has tested positive for COVID-19.

Company officials say they were notified of the positive result on Tuesday.

They say the employee is at home in isolation and hasn’t been at the plant since April 9.

Senior vice president of corporate affairs Michael Mullen said the facility was deep cleaned on April 10.

“We encourage any employee who feels unwell to take every precaution and seek medical assistance,” Mullen said. “We’ll continue to monitor this rapidly evolving situation and will update all employees as appropriate.”

Lewis County Public Health officials confirmed the positive test late Wednesday morning.

They say they have been working closely with Kraft Heinz to make sure anyone who was exposed has been identified, notified, and quarantined.

Health officials say because Kraft Heinz workers are considered essential, any who have been exposed can still report for work, but they must quarantine themselves while they’re not working and have their temperatures checked when they report for work.

Anyone who develops symptoms has to leave work and go home.

That means the plant stays open and more than 160 dairy farmers, part of the Lowville Producers Milk Co-op, still have a place to sell their milk.

"I'm just relieved right now; we have been very fortunate to have a market for our milk. A majority of our family income relies on the sale of milk," said Marc Laribee, dairy farmer, Grace-Way Farms.

“We appreciate the fact the Kraft is staying open and that the employees are still going into work. We really need them. We wouldn’t have a market for our milk without them,” said Brien Tabolt, Lowville Producers general manager.

This latest case makes for a total of 10 confirmed cases for the county. Seven people have recovered. The remaining three, including the Kraft Heinz employee, are in isolation.

The county has tested 203 people for the coronavirus, with negative results for 188. Results are pending for five and 62 people are under quarantine.

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