Henry and Stark County Health Department Announce COVID-19 Cluster at Joslin Plant

At least 10 people, seven employees and three close contacts, at the Joslin Tyson Foods Plant have tested positive for COVID-19. The Henry County Health Department made it official on Thursday. Rumors had spread that a cluster of cases had come from the Joslin plant in recent days. The cluster of positive tests makes up 22% of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Henry County. Henry and Stark County Health Department Director Duane Stephens says “We are releasing this information not to raise fear, but to urge local residents to remain cautious and vigilant when it comes to community mitigation efforts and remaining in compliance with the Governor’s Executive Order to “Stay-A-Home,” go out for essential trips only, observe social distancing of at least 6 feet, wear a face covering when in public places, cover coughs and wash hands frequently.”

The Health Department also issued guidelines for anyone who thinks they may have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

How do I know if I was exposed? You generally need to be in close contact with a person with COVID-19 to get infected. Close contact includes:

•Living in the same household as a sick person with COVID-19

•Caring for a sick person with COVID-19

•Being within 6 feet of a sick person with COVID-19 for about 10 minutes, OR

•Being in direct contact with secretions from a sick person with COVID-19 (e.g., being coughed on, kissing, sharing utensils, etc.).

Cases of COVID-19 do occur due to community spread. That is why hand hygiene and social distancing are important prevention measures.

What should I do if I am a close contact to someone with COVID-19 but am not sick? You should monitor your health for fever, cough and shortness of breath for 14 days after the last day you were in close contact with the person with COVID-19. You should not go to work or school, and should avoid public places during this period.

If you live with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19, please see additional guidance for how to care safely for ill persons: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/guidance-prevent-spread.html

What should I do if I am a close contact to someone with COVID-19 and get sick? If you get sick with fever, cough or shortness of breath (even if your symptoms are very mild), you should stay at home and away from other people for 14 days. If you are over the age of 60 years, are pregnant, or have medical conditions you may be at higher risk of COVID-19 complications. Contact your physician’s office and tell them that you were exposed to someone with COVID-19. They may want to monitor your health more closely or test you for influenza and COVID-19.

The Henry County Health Department has announced multiple confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Henry County. Public health officials are working actively to identify and investigate all individuals who were in contact with the cases. Federal privacy restrictions prohibit the release of further information regarding the investigations.

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