SANTA TERESA, New Mexico -- Five coronavirus infections were confirmed Tuesday at a meatpacking plant in southern New Mexico, where more than 400 workers were tested after one employee at the facility had turned up positive for Covid-19.
The results came after test kits for the plant workers at Stampede Meats Inc. were flown by the Civil Air Patrol to the state Health Department’s lab in Albuquerque for quick processing.
Officials said the rapid testing was done to provide information needed to keep the plant operating safely for employees as well as the public.
“We are grateful to plant management who voluntarily reached out to have their staff tested after one employee tested positive last week,” said David Morgan, a spokesman for the state Health Department. “The plant is still safely operating, and employees already are following all state and federal guidelines for safe food handling.”
The meat plant under scrutiny is located along the Santa Teresa/Sunland Park border in Dona Ana County, where at least 173 total virus infections had been confirmed as Tuesday. Dona Ana County ranks fifth in the state for number of confirmed cases — with far less than the numbers in McKinley, Bernalillo, Sandoval and San Juan counties.
(The AP contributed to this report.)