Smithfield Foods to suspend operations

MONMOUTH, Ill. (NEWS3) — One week after the Warren County Health Department launched a COVID-19 investigation into a local food plant, the company announced all operations will be suspended.

Smithfield Foods in Monmouth announced Friday it will suspend operations starting next week until further notice.

Officials at the pork-producing plant said this comes after “a small portion of its 1,700 employees tested positive for the coronavirus.” Employees will be paid during the closure.

Warren County Health Department has not released any further information in connection to the investigation of the outbreak at the plant. Officials said on April 17, three employees tested positive for the virus. Two of those workers live in Rock Island County and the other is a Warren County resident.

It is unknown if any of the recent cases in Warren County are linked to the plant. The health department reported six new cases Friday which includes two women (ages 20-40), one woman (ages 40-60), one man (ages 20-40) and two men (ages 40-60). Staff also reported 13 new cases of COVID-19 Thursday. The county now has 38 cases.

Below are current COVID-19 test results in surrounding counties around the NEWS3 viewing area:

  • McDonough County: 5 positive, 107 negative, 12 pending
  • Schuyler County: 1 positive, 40 negative, 0 pending
  • Hancock County: 4 positive, 69 negative, 11 pending
  • Warren County: 38 positive, 56 negative and unknown pending
  • Fulton County: 2 positive, 73 negative, 10 pending
  • Knox County: 21 positive, 188 negative, 63 pending
  • Adams County: 33 positive, 858 negative, 22 pending

The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 39,658 total coronavirus cases Friday and 1,795 deaths. The state saw 2,724 new cases and 108 additional deaths Friday.

For the latest information on COVID-19 and how to protect yourself, you can go to the CDC’s website at cdc.gov or the IDPH’s website at dph.illinois.gov.