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8th worker at JBS meatpacking plant in Greeley dies of coronavirus

JBS meatpacking plant
Posted at 12:48 PM, May 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-19 00:08:43-04

GREELEY, Colo. — Another worker of the JBS meatpacking plant has died of COVIID-19, bringing the total to eight known deaths at the Greeley plant, according to the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 7.

The union has identified the employee as Tin Aye. She had been employed at the JBS facility for over a decade and became a grandmother on March 28, the union announced in a press release.

The JBS facility is Colorado's largest confirmed COVID-19 outbreak, with 366 positive cases as of the latest data from the Colorado Department of Public health and Environment.

In a statement late Monday afternoon, a spokesperson for the JBS meatpacking plant offered their thoughts and prayers for Aye.

"While we cannot know for certain how our team members became infected given the scale of the outbreak in Weld County, the loss of life for any reason is tragic," the spokesperson said.

The massive beef slaughterhouse was shuttered April 10 for two weeks for cleaning and testing after at least two deaths and several positive cases among workers. Employees, community groups, and the union all raised concerns about the decision to reopen the facility and called the company's initial response inadequate. However, the plant's 6,000 employees returned to work on April 24, with a large segment of workers untested.

Gov. Jared Polis said during a May 6 press briefing that the state has performed over 1,000 tests on JBS employees and has worked with the company to be certain social distancing and mask-wearing protocols are being taken to protect untested workers, who might be asymptomatic and contagious.

The union continues to demand specific health and safety actions to protect workers, such as access to daily on-site testing for all workers, increased availability of high-quality PPE, and implementation of paid sick leave.