SANTA TERESA, New Mexico -- A southern New Mexico meat packing plant was on the receiving end of multiple workplace complaints related to Covid-19 weeks before a coronavirus outbreak was reported inside the facility, ABC-7 has learned.
In data provided to ABC-7 by New Mexico's state bureau of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (NM OSHA), it shows the Stampede Meat plant in Santa Teresa was the target of three separate complaints involving virus concerns.
Those complaints date back to March 20, well ahead of the first case at the plant - which wasn't reported until May 4. At least one of those complaints to NM OSHA referenced employees being unable to socially distance.
After that first case was reported, state health officials tested every plant employee, having the New Mexico's Civil Air Patrol fly the test kits to a lab in Albuquerque for immediate processing. The company says employees at the facility have also undergone a second round of testing.
So far, at least five virus cases at the facility have been publicly disclosed, while the state has said it continues to investigate the outbreak at the plant.
New Mexico Economic Development Department records show there are 523 total employees at the plant, and not surprisingly given the plant's location along the border of both Texas and Mexico, 243 of those workers live outside of New Mexico.
In a recent statement, Stampede Meat officials insisted that their facility is now cleaned and sanitized every day, plus they said employees have been provided with three tiers of facial protection.