seafood

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Lincoln County Public Health is investigating an outbreak of confirmed COVID-19 cases. Five of the recently announced cases are connected to Pacific Seafood in Newport.

The five employees were from the shrimp facility and have not been in the plant since June 1, according to Pacific Seafood.

“We’re committed to doing everything possible to protect the health and safety of our team members and community,” said John Moody, General Manager of Pacific Seafood, Newport. “We have temporarily suspended operations to professionally sanitize all buildings and will be offering testing to all Pacific Seafood employees. We are providing testing at our own expense in order to preserve free testing services for first responders and other community members. We thank the Lincoln County Health Department for their partnership and the hard work they are doing to keep the community healthy.”

Contract tracing was started immediately to alert employees who were in close proximity with them, which is done by phone. All 375 employees can receive testing.

Public Health asks that if a contact tracer reaches out to you, please answer the call or return the message. These calls help Public Health keep families and communities safe. Local public and tribal health authorities will never ask for a social security number, credit card number, bank account or billing information, or immigration status.

“Pacific Seafood is working with Public Health to get their employees tested as quickly as possible,” Nicole Fields, Deputy Director of Public Health said. “As we move through this outbreak and conversation continues regarding reopening the county, it is critically important that we all do our part to prevent the spread of COVID-19 including washing our hands frequently, maintaining physical distances, and wearing a face covering when out in public.”

Like other essential businesses, Pacific Seafood said they have a special responsibility to continue providing access to necessary food products while doing everything possible to protect the continued health and safety of their team members and communities.

“We take both responsibilities extremely seriously and have created a special leadership team charged with monitoring all of the latest guidance and implementing industry-leading, best practices at our facilities,” Pacific Seafood staff said in a press release.

Those efforts include, for example:

- Robust sanitation and cleaning protocols, with dedicated staff cleaning common touch areas every hour, twice daily more extensive cleanings and break room cleaning before and after every small group rest and meal breaks.

- Face coverings provided to and worn by all employees.

- Plastic face shields provided to and worn in all production-related positions.

- Daily temperature checks/health screenings at shift starts.

- Barriers installed between production workstations to ensure social distancing.

- Strict protocols for hand sanitizing and wearing face coverings while on company premises.

- Staggered shifts to limit contact and maximize social distancing.

- Restricted access to outside visitors.

In addition, Pacific Seafood has added a few more safety protocols for specific concerns, such as:

- Temporarily suspending operations on Friday and Saturday to perform professional cleaning and sanitation services.

- Providing free testing to all team members at their Pacific Seafood’s expense, freeing local resources for use by those on the front lines.

- Coordinating with local health officials to appropriately treat and monitor team members who test positive for COVID-19, and ensuring they do not return to work until receiving a verified negative COVID result.

- Conducting appropriate contact tracing to ensure that any issues are isolated to areas outside our facilities.

“All of our efforts go above and beyond current CDC guidance,” Pacific Seafood staff said. “At Pacific Seafood, we are consistently doing our best and always striving to do better.”

For more information on contact tracing, please visit https://www.co.lincoln.or.us/hhs/page/contact-tracing

For more information about COVID-19 or testing, please go to the website at https://www.co.lincoln.or.us/hhs/page/2019-novel-coronavirus . Public Health also has a call center available Monday – Friday from 9am – 4:30pm. Phone 541-265-0621 or email LincolnCoCallCenter@co.lincoln.or.us

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