Audrain County confirms 9 more coronavirus cases linked to local hog business

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Source: ABC 13

A total of 11 people tested positive for coronavirus in Audrain County on Tuesday, nine of which were linked to a local hog farm.

Four new coronavirus cases traced to a local hog farm were confirmed Monday by the Audrain County Health Department and, as a result, the health department said more testing was underway at the hog farm.

These newly realized cases of coronavirus bring the total to 13 confirmed cases that were traced back to Brenneman Pork, an Iowa based swine and grain operation.

According to the administrator of the ACHD, many of Brenneman Pork’s employees live in a trailer home community that was built for employees in Mexico, Mo.

Brenneman Pork has two feeding operations with 20-30 employees in the area. One is located in Paris and the other is located in Thompson.

The Audrain County Health Department said they are in the process of testing all the employees.

Audrain County Pork Producers President Bill Kessler said at farms such as the local hog farm where the cluster of positive cases is, workers typically are much farther apart than what people would see at a large meat processing plant.

Kessler said the workers at the hog farms in Audrain County where the new cases were linked to share a break room, showers and a changing room for when the workers arrive to change into their work attire and when they leave.

Aside from those shared areas, Kessler elaborated on the trailer home park many employees of the hog farm call home.

“Some of them are living together I’m sure, if they’re not married and families could live there,” Kessler said. “I know there’s at least 10 or 15 trailers there. They can be close together when they leave [the hog farm] because they all live in the same trailer court there.”

As of Tuesday afternoon, Audrain County has 16 active cases of coronavirus with one person having recovered from the virus in the county.

This is a massive increase for the county, given that between the first case being reported on April 18 and Monday, the county had just two total confirmed cases of the virus.

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