State Orders Virus Testing For Agricultural And Food Workers
Michigan agricultural workers and those employed at food processing plants are now required to be tested for the COVID-19 virus. An emergency order from the state Health and Human Services Department setting up the requirements is being signed into effect by Department Director Robert Gordon. Gordon points to at least 11 known virus outbreaks at farms and food processing plants in Michigan since the outbreak began in March. Gordon claims the order will help reduce the spread of the virus in the state. He also believes it will help protect the state’s Latino residents. Gordon says in testing cases where the individual’s ethnicity is known, Latinos make up 11 percent of the positive cases in the state, while only representing about 5% of Michigan’s total population.
The testing order encompasses migrant housing camps in Michigan, many of which are in Southwest Michigan. But it also covers orders to provide testing requirements for greenhouses, egg producers and meat and poultry farms where over 20 employees are on-site at any one time. Employers and housing operators must complete a plan by Aug. 10 for how they will conduct testing in compliance with this order. Completion of baseline testing and implementation of ongoing testing is required no later than Aug. 24. The state warns that failure to comply with the emergency order could lead to a civil infraction being issued that includes a fine.