CUDAHY — A day after Smithfield Foods, Inc. announced a two-week closure at the Patrick Cudahy plant in Cudahy amid an outbreak of the coronavirus, FOX6 News learned on Thursday, April 16 the operation will not be shut down entirely — at least, not right away. The company now says “rolling closures” are planned at the plant.
On Wednesday, Smithfield announced Patrick Cudahy would be closed for two weeks for a “rigorous deep cleaning” after a “small number” of employees tested positive for COVID-19.
The FOX6 Investigators learned that “small number” was 28 confirmed cases, more than triple the number identified a week earlier.
On Thursday, some workers were told they’d have to keep working through April 25.
In an email to FOX6 News, a company spokeswoman wrote that all but one department would cease operations by the weekend, and the one remaining department would wind down by next weekend. She called it a “rolling closure” that “prevents food from being wasted.”
Cudahy Mayor Tom Pavlic said he “doesn’t think Smithfield had any intent to mislead the public,” adding “it’s not as simple as flipping off a light switch.”
The FOX6 Investigators asked Cudahy’s health officer if the continued operation would pose a significant health risk to workers. She replied that the mayor will not allow her to comment on any matter related to Smithfield.