DELPHI, IND. – In response to a growing number of people in the surrounding communities testing positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19), including 15 positive cases among its 2,500 employees, Indiana Packers Corp. (IPC) on April 24 began winding down production at its Delphi pork plant. The company said it would close the facility for up to two weeks, as the state of Indiana is expected to see infection cases peak in the coming days.
“Given the uncertainty so inherent with this pandemic, we are committed to be as proactive as we possibly can so as to best ensure the health and safety of our team members,” said Russ Yearwood, president and chief operating officer at IPC. “This short pause is part of the ongoing effort.”
The company planned to dial back production over several days following the announcement and, once closed, conduct sanitation procedures and implement precautions recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Affected employees will continue to be paid during the temporary closure, IPC said. Precautions have been implemented over the past several months, the company said, including screening employees’ temperature as they enter the plant, maximizing physical distancing and supplementing sanitation procedures.
“While those steps were effective, IPC, like many other employers in the state, is not immune to the effects of the pandemic,” the company said. “IPC officials recognize the impact this temporary closure will have on the community, including important partners in the farming and agriculture industry. IPC intends to restart operations as soon as possible.”
The plant is the second large pork processing facility in the state to be closed due to coronavirus. Tyson Fresh Meats Inc. on April 22 announced it would close its Logansport operation while it tested all of its 2,200 workers for the virus.