Health District identifies COVID-19 clusters at McCain Foods, Magic Valley Growers

Cases expected rise with increased testing
Published: Jun. 29, 2020 at 5:31 PM MDT
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TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) - The South Central Public Health District has identified two coronavirus clusters in food processing facilities located within Southern Idaho.

On Monday, a spokesperson for South Central Public Health said in an email the facilities with ongoing clusters are McCain Foods located in Cassia County and Magic Valley Growers located in Gooding County. In the email, Brianna Bodily of South Central Public Health indicated as of Friday afternoon there had been 12 total cases of coronavirus identified at McCain Foods in Burley, and that seven of those cases are still being monitored.

The district also expects the number of cases at McCain Foods to grow with increased employee testing. The district also indicated 17 total cases had been identified at Magic Valley Growers in Gooding County, and that only one case is still being monitored.

KMVT reached out to the McCains Food plant in Burley and was put in touch with Jennifer Donahoe, a Public Relations Director with Planit Agency. In an email, Donahoe said the McCain food plant in Burley has had an increase in positive cases due to community spread of COVID-19, but has not had to shut down due to McCain’s strict process of thoroughly disinfecting and sanitizing.

Donahoe also delivered us a statement from Tarah Arnold, of US Corporate Affairs at McCain Foods. In the statement, Arnold said employees who test positive or came in contact with an employee who tested positive will be placed on a 14-day paid quarantine.

Additionally according to Donahoe, McCain is offering free coronavirus testing on a voluntary basis to any plant employee with health concerns or symptoms.

KMVT also reached out to the Magic Valley Growers office in Wendell, who said per company policy they would not be releasing any information regarding the matter.

There have been a total of four coronavirus clusters identified within the South Central Public Health District. The largest of which were at IdaBeef in Burley where 56 cases of coronavirus were identified, and Rite Stuff Foods in Jerome where 70 cases were identified.

As of Friday, the facilities at IdaBeef in Burley and Rite Stuff Foods in Jerome no longer have any active cases of coronavirus. The employees who tested positive are also off isolation and no longer being monitored, according to South Central Public Health District.

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