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Why are meat plants experiencing coronavirus outbreaks?
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As coronavirus first spread throughout the country, one industry seemed to experience an outsized number of coronavirus cases: meatpacking plants.
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There are at least 25,000 reported positive coronavirus cases tied to U.S. meatpacking facilities meaning the cases are workers or people connected to workers, like family members, according to the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting. That number continues to grow.
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Meat processing plants have been at the center of coronavirus hot spots in many rural states with otherwise low case counts, including South Dakota and its Smithfield Foods pork processing plant in Sioux Falls. A number of plants had already experienced outbreaks by late April, when President Trump issued an executive order invoking the Defense Production Act ordering meat plants to keep operating to protect the country's food supply during the pandemic.