Surge in COVID-19 cases in KCMO connected to outbreak at St. Joseph meat processing plant
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 5, 2020
The Kansas City, Missouri Health Department has received from the state the names of about 60 residents who work at Triumph Foods processing plant in St. Joseph and who tested positive for COVID-19.
The Health Department is contacting those residents as part of the contact tracing and disease investigation process.
After several employees exhibited symptoms in mid-April, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) and the St. Joseph Health Department partnered with Northwest Health Services and Mosaic Life Care to offer testing to all employees and contract workers, whether or not they had symptoms.
As of Monday morning, May 4, nearly 2,400 employees had been tested. So far, 412 employees without symptoms tested positive for COVID-19.
DHSS expects to send additional names to Kansas City as more test results come in. As the health department reports COVID-19 data, residents should expect to see a spike in the number of positive cases due to this outbreak at the processing plant.
“The processing plant cases from St. Joseph show how interconnected and mobile we are,” said Frank Thompson, KCMOHD deputy director. "This underscores the need for businesses to have information available to assist our disease investigators so when outbreaks like this occur, we can quickly follow-up. Those 60 cases also highlight the needs for expanded testing and contact tracing to contain COVID-19.”
On Monday, May 4, Kansas City reported 586 cases. By Tuesday, May 5, that number had climbed to 664 cases. Sixteen residents have died from COVID-19.
- Six females
- 10 males
- Two from Clay County
- 14 from Jackson County
- Nine Black
- Five White
- One Asian
- One Hispanic
- Two in 30s
- Five in 60s
- Three in 70s
- Two in 80s
- Four were 90+
Any employees who are still seeking testing can do so next week through the mobile testing site operated by Northwest Health Services.
DHSS has staff on site in St. Joseph assisting with case investigations and contact tracing. While the state is leading testing and investigation efforts, staff from the KCMOHD and other surrounding local public health agencies are assisting as well.
Kansas Citians interested in signing up for text updates from the City of Kansas City regarding COVID-19 should text COVIDKC to 888-777. For more information, visit the CDC’s website at cdc.gov/coronavirus or kcmo.gov/coronavirus. You may also call the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services 24-hour hotline at 877-435-8411 for questions regarding COVID-19 in Missouri.
Media inquiries should be directed to Michelle Pekarsky, 816-719-3610 (cell). Follow the Health Department on Twitter.